Abrar Omeish, a member of the Fairfax County School Board in Virginia, has come under fire for complaining that a moment of silence taken out of respect for the 9/11 terrorist attacks “caused harm.” After a controversial remark about the 20th anniversary of the attack, residents are demanding that the school board remove Omeish. When the school board was considering whether or not public school students should have a moment of silence in memory of the thousands of people killed by the terrorists twenty years ago, Omeish’s resistance to the notion emerged.

Omeish maintained that the motion was not “anti-racist” and that the brief silence was insufficient to address the “state-sponsored traumas” that have survived in Virginia since the terrorist attacks twenty years ago. Despite the fact that the moment of silence was intended to commemorate first responders and the nearly 3000 people injured or killed in the attack, Omeish interpreted it differently.

“I vote against this today because our omission of these realities causes harm. We’re levitating a traumatic event without sufficient cultural competence,” she stated. “We are not only passing over the violence that occurred but also really just refusing to acknowledge it.”

In an interview with a local newspaper, Delegate Omeish stated that she has received “tons of hate mail” since making the comments. The member of the Alexandria school board has been blasted by critics in Northern Virginia for her remarks on 9/11 and other matters.

“I have been receiving hate mail. I’ve had people call me on my phone and send text messages to tell me that they hope I die,” she told WUSA-TV. “This is not what Fairfax County residents expect of their school board members or really anybody for that matter.”

Mrs. Omeish, a board member for the Fairfax County School Board, has been receiving death threats in response to her views regarding 9/11. According to Omeish, she will not be quitting her position on the Fairfax County School Board and that the majority of people in Northern Virginia agree with what she is saying about September 11.

“I do not need to be silenced, and I will continue to speak up for my constituents who feel that we have been omitting their stories as well as those of the victims across this country. This is something that needs healing on both sides, but it needs honesty. That’s what our community has asked me to provide,” she stated.

“I will continue to stand up and speak out for the students of Fairfax County. I think we need more voices like that in our community, but not at the expense of safety or marginalizing people’s very real experiences with violence. There are many victims who feel this way.”

Omeish claims her statements were taken out of context and that her goal to draw attention to the difficulties faced by Muslims after September 11 was lost in translation.

“I think this was a missed opportunity, and it should be repealed, and I would hope we could come together as community members and really focus our attention on policies that will help us heal from violence so we can create safe spaces for all of our children,” she stated.

Omeish’s lawyer added that she did not want to harm anyone when she left the message and that she regrets doing so and hopes people would accept her position as a Muslim-American woman who arrived in the United States in the late 1980s.

The citizens of Fairfax County, Virginia, say they will go to the school board meeting next week and stage another demonstration in front of the district’s headquarters.

There is no word on what Omeish will do next, or if she will step down as a Fairfax County school board member.