In 2019, Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) endorsed Muslim-American activist Abrar Omeish for a school board election, calling her a "friend" who would "strengthen" the Fairfax County school district. Omeish has used that perch to oppose a moment of silence for Hamas’s victims, condemn American victories in World War II as "evil," and urge students to embrace their inner "jihad."
And she’s not the first radical member of the family to land Kaine’s support. As governor in 2007, Kaine appointed Omeish’s father, Esam Omeish, to serve on the state’s immigration commission. Esam Omeish resigned from the post after it emerged that he had urged Muslims to embrace the "jihad way" at a rally several years earlier.
That affinity for prominent anti-Israel activists could prove a political liability for Kaine, who faces a tough reelection fight next year. Kaine, like many other Democrats, has courted left-wing and anti-Israel activists over the years. Those alliances have come under scrutiny after Hamas’s slaughter of 1,400 Israelis last month. The Biden White House tapped the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) earlier this year to serve on a committee to combat anti-Semitism. CAIR, which has allegedly helped fund Hamas, blamed Israel for the "root causes" of the terrorist group’s attacks. Kaine, whose son was once arrested for rioting at an anti-Trump rally, applauded CAIR in 2019 for its "incredible work."
Abrar Omeish’s tenure as school board member has been marked by a series of scandals over her left-wing and anti-Israel views.
Most recently, she lamented what she called a "sneak attack" by her colleagues at a school board meeting on Oct. 12. Their offense: issuing a statement in support of Israel days after it experienced the worst terrorist attack in its history. Omeish said it was "disappointing that my colleagues would do that behind my back after conversations that I had with them in saying that the statement represents everybody’s views." She repeatedly referred to Israel as an "apartheid regime of occupation."
Omeish claimed the school board’s support of Israel "ignores the root of the violence." She rationalized the Hamas attack, saying that "centuries of human history teach us that escalations happen when problems are ignored, realities are denied, and voices are censored."
Omeish raised eyebrows at a school board meeting in February when she called the United States victory at Iwo Jima "evil" and "unfortunate." In May 2021, Omeish said "Israel kills Palestinians & desecrates the Holy Land." On the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, she opposed a school board resolution honoring one of the victims, saying the resolution failed to address "state-sponsored traumas" against Muslims after 9/11.
In June 2021, she told a graduating class at Justice High School they were entering a world of "racism, extreme versions of individualism and capitalism, and white supremacy," telling them to remember their "jihad."
The call to jihad is reminiscent of her father.
In the early 2000s, Esam Omeish told Muslims at a rally that "you have learned the way, that you have known that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land." He resigned from Virginia’s Commission of Immigration after those remarks resurfaced in September 2009.
"Dr. Omeish is a respected physician and community leader, yet I have been made aware of certain statements he has made which concern me," Kaine said in a statement at the time.
Omeish served as a director at Dar al-Hijrah mosque, which has been linked to Hamas and multiple terrorists. Al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki served as imam at the mosque during the 9/11 attacks. Army officer Nidal Hasan, who murdered 13 soldiers at Fort Hood in 2009, attended services at the mosque. Omeish also served as president of the Muslim American Society, an advocacy group formed by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Islamist group that spawned Hamas in Palestine.
The elder Omeish, who contributed to Kaine’s campaign on Aug. 29, has maintained his anti-Israel views in the wake of the Hamas attack, according to social media posts.
He posted a poem on Oct. 16 that translates to "give victory to the Jihad and the Mujahideen," a term for Islamic guerrilla fighters. He accused Israel of perpetrating "genocide" in Gaza, and pushed the false claim that an Israeli rocket destroyed Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City. The hospital was hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another terrorist group.
Kaine’s office did not respond to requests for comment.