American Muslim leaders with documented ties to the Muslim Brotherhood congratulated Fairfax County, Va., at-large school board candidate Abrar Omeish on winning the endorsement of the county's Democratic Party, posts on her father Esam Omeish's Facebook page show.
She serves as a member of the school board's Human Resources Advisory Committee and also was an organizer for the Democratic National Committee in 2017. Her Facebook page noted she raised $50,000 for her campaign in the first quarter of 2019, more than all of her opponents combined. She will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Her stated platform includes reducing student-teacher ratios, improving teacher morale and improving the school district's fiscal condition.
Abrar Omeish is close to the Muslim Brotherhood-created International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), which hosted her on a February podcast to talk about her campaign. While the IIIT has long endorsed an Islamic supremacist vision that seeks to make its brand of Islam dominant in society, Omeish's remarks mostly stuck to general ideals about the value of education, though she sometimes punctuated her comments with "Alhamdullilah," meaning praise God, and other religious references.
"How are we thinking about education in ways that will situate folks to be ... not only to learn their math and science, and know how to write and read, but to do so well and to be prepared to be competitive in today's world," she said. "So my passion for education actually comes from my passion for equity and fairness and justice that I see education being a means towards.
Image from Abrar Omeish campaign site.
"Just thinking of the ways that Allah SWT's blessings don't come out of nowhere or just because, right? How do we, how do I maximize those opportunities in ways that serve the community and that answer again to being that witness? Ultimately, we will have to answer one day for what we were given, for what we saw, and what we did. So this was one of those very obvious trajectories in my mind that leads to a life of public service, within politics. Again, and again, I come back to wow, I'm really grateful to have a core moral guideline or core moral framework because this game is messy, and can turn into...it's very easy to turn into...to be self-centered, to have an ego, to waver on integrity when it comes to the decisions one makes politically and strategically."
Thirty years ago, Sharifa al-Khateeb, the late managing editor of IIIT's American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, advocated modifying public school curricula to proselytize.
"[O]ur final objective is to create our own Islamic systems, and not only create Islamic systems for Muslims but to look at all the other people who are sharing this country with us as potential Muslims," she told an Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention in a speech televised by C-SPAN. "And if we look at them as potential Muslims, and if we feel that we have the obligation, which Allah has told us, to try and bring them into the same style of thinking and the same way of behaving and the same objectives that we have then we need to have some way to communicating with them, and some way we can work with them."
While she is young, Abrar Omeish already has a record of trying to silence views with which she disagrees. While a Yale University student in 2014, she led an effort by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) to limit what Islamist critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali could say during a pending speech on campus.
Hirsi Ali, who wrote two autobiographies chronicling her journey from a fundamentalist Muslim family in Somalia and Kenya, where she became a victim of female genital mutilation, to a secular advocate for girls and women in Islam, "does not have the scholarly credentials to speak on Islam," Omeish wrote, saying she "asked that the event be limited to subjects she can speak on from her personal experiences."
Her campaign may enjoy a boost from her father Esam Omeish, who is a high-profile Islamist leader in northern Virginia. He is a longtime board member at the Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center and a former Muslim American Society (MAS) president. Prosecutors say MAS is the "overt arm" of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. Few Muslims had the sort of "adherence to duty" and the morals found in the Muslim Brotherhood, Esam Omeish wrote in December 2016.
He also enjoys high-level access in the Democratic Party and lobbied former President Obama and members of his national security team.
That access was baffling, considering his invocation of violent jihad at a 2000 rally recorded by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). He praised Palestinians for learning ""the jihad way" to achieve liberation.
That could help explain the support Abrar Omeish is seeing from Islamist activists after her father celebrated the endorsement on social media. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) co-founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad, who was listed as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee – established to support Hamas in the U.S. – posted, "Congratulations to Abrar Omeish on this historic victory."
So did Sabri Samirah, a former spokesman for the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood's Islamic Action Front political party. The Bush administration exiled Samirah due to his support for Hamas. Samirah served on the board of directors of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a branch of Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee that acted as Hamas' propaganda arm in the United States. A federal judge allowed Samirah to return to the United States in 2010.
Samirah's son, Ibraheem, serves as a Virginia state delegate.
Sheikh Main al-Qudah congratulated Abrar Omeish saying, "May Allah make Abrar Omeish's victory manifest for the good of the country and his servants."
He never stated he's a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but has family ties to the organization. Al-Qudah issued a 2011 fatwa for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA) saying Quranically mandated tithes called zakat could be used for "legitimate jihad activities." Other Al-Qudah fatwas for AMJA sanction wife beating; bar non-Muslims from "mocking Islam or making fun of any of its teachings;" state apostates who leave Islam should be executed and claim that "no one has the right to stay on his/her Christianity or Judaism after the prophecy of Mohammad."
Al-Qudah served as general secretary of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in 1999, a group that a 2017 lawsuit against the Saudi Binladin Group alleged acted as a "tool for supporting the al Qaeda movement, on both the ideological and military fronts."
Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), says the Fairfax County Democratic Committee's embrace of Abrar Omeish shows they are dupes who have embraced the most extreme segment of the U.S. Muslim community.
"Abrar Omeish is yet another candidate in American politics who unabashedly represents the American Islamist movement and its theocratic separatist platform. Any denials otherwise are sheer ignorance or a bigotry of low expectations laid at the altar of identity politics," Jasser said. "Her endorsers hail from America's most prominent radical Islamists of the past generation and she carries the torch of the next generation of Islamists."