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Tipsheet

Virginia School Board Member Doubles Down on Remarks Calling the Battle of Iwo Jima ‘Evil’

A school board member for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in Virginia has doubled down on remarks she made describing the Battle of Iwo Jima as “evil” and “unfortunate.”

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Board member Abrar Omeish, 28, commented during a school board meeting last week.

"Just a few days ago was Japanese Day of Remembrance," Omeish said during the meeting. "Something for us to certainly reflect on as we learn our history and think about it. The days when, you know, Iwo Jima unfortunately happened and set a record for really what, I hate to say, human evil is capable of. So that’s something just to remember.”

According to The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, nearly 7,000 U.S. service members died over the course of 36 days of fighting against the Imperial Army of Japan on the island. On March 26, 1945, the island was declared secure, a turning point in the conflict. The iconic photo of the Marines raising the American flag on the island was the blueprint for the Marine Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. 

“Roughly 7,000 American heroes died taking the island from the Japanese,” Outkick reporter David Hookstead tweeted about Omeish’s remarks. “You're a coward and an idiot if you think the men who saved the world in WWII are evil.”

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In a statement to Fox News Digital, Omeish said that she was “very disappointed” and that her remarks on Iwo Jima and Japanese Day of Remembrance “have been so misrepresented.”

"I would like to set the record straight," Omeish told the outlet. "Before the battle at Iwo Jima in Feb. 1945, Japan knew it could not defend the island, but its Government still demanded its military forces to fight to the death. Even though Lieutenant General Kuribayashi knew there was no possibility of winning the battle, Prime Minster Hideki Tojo sent him on a suicidal mission to inflict as many casualties as possible on allied forces and to never surrender. The unnecessary spilling of blood was not right."

"At the same time, our own Government also knew in Feb 1945 that the overwhelming number of 120,000 incarcerated Japanese Americans posed no threat to American security," she continued. "By that time, the Japanese American 442 Infantry Regiment was already well on its way to becoming the most decorated American military unit in WWII. The refusal of our own Government to release the Japanese prisoners was and should continue to be condemned. Our government’s actions were also not right. During the school board meeting, I mentioned both points to nuance our discussion regarding these events."

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Omeish, who is Muslim, said the “deliberate distortion” of her remarks is “completely unfounded and frankly shocking.”

"Truthfully, it is hard not to see how the distortion is not loaded with its own fears about me and driven by what is entirely unrelated to this subject: the incorrect assumption stories like these depend on— that Muslim somehow implies anti-American," she concluded. 

Fox News pointed out that the FCPS school board represents 1.2 million residents in nine districts. 

In 2021, In The Know published a video highlighting Omeish as “the Gen Z activist fighting for changes in the public school system.” In the video, Omeish shared that “equity and inclusion” in the school system were at the forefront of her campaign. 

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