As the nation commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, some thought it appropriate to exploit it for “woke” reasons. A student senator at Washington University in St. Louis was captured on video stealing flags from a 9/11 memorial display. After receiving backlash on social media, the student attempted to cast himself as the victim.
Young America’s Foundation (YAF) reported:
YAF was alerted on Saturday that a memorial display had been destroyed by a member of student government at WU. The school is a participant in YAF’s 9/11: Never Forget Project, in which 2,977 flags are planted in the ground, one for each innocent murdered by radical Islamic terrorists.
Fadel Alkilani was filmed by Nathaniel Hope, a member of the WU College Republicans, as he carried trash bags filled with the American flags he had stolen from the memorial. Alkilani insisted that what he was doing was in line with the university’s rules. YAF found that he is the chairman of the student senate finance committee, which is responsible for allocating funds to various student organizations.
YAF contacted Alkilani to get a comment. He replied: “I did not violate any university or legal policy. Now, go away.”
Alkilani’s Twitter account has been suspended, but prior to the suspension, he responded to a Twitter user by saying he pilfered the flags in an act of “protest against American imperialism and the 900,000 lives lost as a result of the post 9/11 war.”
WOW: A student senator at @WUSTL was caught on video throwing away 2,977 American flags from conservative students' 9/11: Never Forget Project memorial.
— YAF (@yaf) September 11, 2021
This was not the first time Alkilani has attempted to deface the memorial. YAF explained:
According to students participating in the 9/11: Never Forget Project at WU, Alkilani also tried to destroy the display Friday night. He was told to stop after campus police were called. After being caught this morning, campus police were notified once more. This time they warned Alkilani he would be arrested if he disrupted the display again.
The flags were later re-planted at the memorial.
Nick Rodriguez, chair of the conservative group on campus, told YAF that this story illustrates how the university has become “infected” with the culture being cultivated by hard leftists. He said:
“To see a non-partisan, non-political memorial, disgraced without a swift response from the university says volumes.”
YAF reach out to the university to inquire as to whether Alkilani would be facing any disciplinary action for his behavior. The university responded:
“We were disappointed to learn about the disruption to the 9/11 display on Mudd Field. We condemn the interference with the expression of support by the College Republicans for the victims of the national tragedy that took place 20 years ago today. The actions surrounding this incident were not on behalf of the university or a university-sponsored organization. We value freedom of expression in all forms and will work to ensure that all students are able to express their points of view through appropriate channels without disrupting the rights of others to show support for causes they care about. This is a critical component of our core values and we are committed to facilitating free speech on our campus.”
The school did not indicate whether they would punish Alkilani.
On his Instagram page, Alkilani included a link in his bio to a Google document giving his side of the story. He claimed that he was the target of “a massive harassment campaign propagated primarily by Washington University College Republicans, as well as the national Young America’s Foundation” and that there is “a large amount of misinformation circulating.”
In the document, Alkilani claims he “had no intention” of taking the flags from the memorial and that his “full protest did not have the chance to be actualized.”
He indicated that his plan was to place the trash bags full of flags on Mudd field, accompanied by “various statistics” related to the “human cost of 9/11 in the past 20 years.” The student insisted he “did not deface, destroy, damage, nor steal any flags,” and accused the university’s students and police officers of “verbally and physically” harassing him.
He then outlined the stats he claims he was going to put on the trash bags, noting the increase in hate crimes and anti-Muslim bigotry that occurred in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. The student argued:
Any memorial of 9/11 that does not contend with these facts is not only incomplete, but it also amplifies pro-imperialist sentiment and actively disrespects those who have died because of American Invasion. A memorial which uses US flags is especially insidious, as it does not recognize those who have fallen, but uses a symbol that was on the shoulders of those who are responsible for the deaths of 900,000 people, and uses the innocent lives lost during 9/11 as a political prop upholding American hegemony.
Alkilani was not the only one who attempted to deflect from the actual objective of the commemoration. Others also used the rise in anti-Muslim bigotry to distract from the victims of the terrorist attacks.
This isn’t to say that the bigotry issue is not important. The fact that innocent Muslim Americans were targeted by bigots after the attacks is a matter worthy of discussion.
However, commemorating the anniversary of the attacks is about the people who were killed by radical Islamic extremists. It seems the hard left wishes to shift the focus from the evil that was done to an “America is bad” narrative. The more these people are exposed, the easier it will be to prevent them from achieving their objectives.