EXCLUSIVE – A controversial Fairfax, Virginia, school board member, Abrar Omeish, who previously refused to vote on a motion that would commemorate Sept. 11 victims, shared plans to use $3 billion available in the district's budget for a Palestine agenda before she was elected, according to a video reviewed by Fox News Digital.
In addition to her elected duties, Omeish is currently getting her JD and master's in public policy at Georgetown. An investigative journalist – Asra Q. Nomani – captured Omeish's remarks at a September 2019 American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) fundraising event right before the future lawyer landed a seat on the school board.
During her AMP speech, Omeish described an intention to integrate a pro-Palestine agenda into classroom books and curriculum, and seemed to suggest that was a motivation for the school board run. She went on to discuss the "big money" in the district's budget and "Muslim power."
"I'm running for Fairfax County School Board at large. And I want to make the connection tonight between local politics…[and] the Palestinian issue… These are conversations that start in the classrooms," she said.
ARIZONA SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER SAYS DISTRICT SHOULD REJECT HIRING TEACHERS WITH CHRISTIAN VALUES: 'NOT...SAFE'
"These are the conversations in the history textbooks that they're reading, that they're learning from their world history teacher every day," she said. "So, I'm running for school board, and there are so many different reasons, and so many things that impact the Muslim community in relation to this."
Fox News Digital recently found that Omeish recommended public school teachers use a "culturally responsive" curriculum guide for their lesson plans about 9/11 history, which opposed using terms such as "radical Islamic terror," "Islamic terrorists" and "jihadists."
"Do not frame the lessons as a chance to explore the definition of terrorism or a clash of two different societies/cultures," the curriculum guide on Sept. 11 said. "There is much disagreement about what terrorism means, and it’s often used in a biased manner."
In order to be "culturally responsive," teachers should focus "on the impact of 9/11 on communities of color, including Muslim Americans," the guide said. "Muslim communities… responses of resilience but also depression and anxiety" should also be raised when discussing 9/11 history.
DIVERSITY PROFESSOR VERBALLY ATTACKS STUDENT AFTER BEING TRIGGERED BY TERM 'TERRORIST ATTACK': COMPLAINT
At the pro-Palestinian 2019 event, Omeish went on to brag about the billions that would be available for her influence.
"So, the Fairfax County School Board manages who knows how much money?… The Fairfax County School Board manages three billion dollars. That's just one school board in Northern Virginia. That is over half of the Fairfax County budget, OK? We're talking big money, and this gets funneled, the school board entirely makes the decisions on this," she said. "These are just examples of, again, power of us needing to be involved."
Omeish said a quest for power began at a local level.
"We love talking politics at the dinner table… And I implore you… we need the Muslim community to turn out, because when we turn out… we are money, we're votes, and that means power," she said. "And wallahi [swear to Allah], I cannot tell you how many times people talk… about the Muslim power. 'Oh, Abrar's got a community.' 'Abrar's going to bring in all these people for the Democrats.' Why? Because they saw us show up… and now we're making decisions."
"We need to do that right here… It starts locally, folks. When we… stand as witnesses before Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala [Allah the most glorified, the most High] for justice on this Earth, as he commands us in the Qur'an, right? Where does that start? We can talk national level, but it's right here, in our communities, next door. And we're going to be accountable for that," she said.
Omeish was criticized in the past for refusing to vote on a motion to commemorate 9/11 victims. The resolution was not "antiracist" enough and failed to address "state-sponsored traumas" experienced by Muslims, she appeared to suggest.
"I vote against this today… As a nation we remember a jarring event, no doubt, but we chose to forget… the collective blame felt by Arab Americans, American Muslims… since that day over the past two decades," she said.
The local GOP called for Omeish's ouster, stating, "Her cruel attacks on the memory of 9/11’s victims and heroes should be the last straw. They were not just incredibly tone-deaf — they were vicious and, frankly, anti-American."
In another controversy, Omeish was named in a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights alleging anti-Semitic incitement in Fairfax County. The DOE agreed to investigate anti-Semitism in Fairfax as a result of the complaint.
During her speech at AMP, Omeish twice leveled a claim that "they control the narrative" about the Jewish State. When Fox News Digital requested comment, asking which group of people she referred to that were doing the supposed controlling, Omeish did not respond.
"And so, ultimately, why do we find ourselves in a situation today when it's still difficult to speak up on Palestine, or when there aren't many allies in power? Because the narrative was controlled many years before, right?" she said.
"These are things we have to be paying attention to on the local level right here. When a teacher in Texas is fired from her job 'cause she believes in BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions], these are things that impact students on a daily basis, they impact our staff, our teachers, and they control the narrative, right?"
ALASKA BOARD MEMBERS BRAWL OVER SILENCING DAD EXPOSING BOOK ON KINKS AND SEXTING: 'I'M GOING TO INTERRUPT YOU'
Omeish was referring to the BDS movement, the Palestinian-led effort that enjoys some domestic progressive support with the goal of economically isolating Israel. It singles out Israel and has been called out for not attacking totalitarian countries with egregious human rights records for boycotting.
It has therefore been argued by critics that the movement is a modern manifestation of anti-Semitism, and is used as a cudgel, an ideological weapon to delegitimize Israel on the international stage. BDS does not support Israel's right to exist. The Anti-Defamation League has stated the "founding goals" of BDS are anti-Semitic.
Proponents of BDS – such as AMP – argue it is "an inclusive, anti-racist human rights movement that opposes, on principle, all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia."
The AMP event Omeish attended was slated to feature Marc Lamont Hill – the former CNN commentator – who was fired the year prior after calling for Palestine to be freed "from the river to the sea," a phrase used by the terror group Hamas and is interpreted as a call to destroy the Jewish state. Hill canceled his plans to attend the AMP event unexpectedly.
In May 2021, Omeish tweeted that Israel "desecrates the Holy Land" and engages in "apartheid and colonization" as its civilian areas were bombarded with Hamas rockets.
"Anyone who thinks Israel is an apartheid state is either historically illiterate with no understanding of how apartheid operated in South Africa or is willfully lying in the name of demonizing Israel," said Virginia's 11th Congressional District GOP Chairman Michael Ginsberg.
Nomani's book "Woke Army" describes Omeish as having prestigious connections – including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). After winning her election for school board, Omar made an appearance at Omeish’s father’s house for a celebration, the book said.
The AMP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.