A student senator at Washington University was caught on camera over the weekend removing American flags from a 9/11 memorial display and throwing them in the trash.
Young Americans for Freedom released a disturbing video that shows the student gathering small American flags into bags and attempting to carry them away. A total of 2,977 flags had been put up on the lawn to represent each of the people who were murdered in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
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
While Washington University officials issued a statement condemning the removal of the flags, they refused to say whether the student would be disciplined. According to Fox News, the student has since been identified as Fadel Alkilani, vice president of finance for the student union.
“We were disappointed to learn about the disruption to the 9/11 display on Mudd Field,” said Julie Flory, the university’s vice chancellor for marketing and communications. “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.”
Nathaniel Hope, a member of the WU College Republicans who filmed the video, claimed that Alkilani showed “no remorse” and that removing the flags was in “violation of school rules.”
WU College Republicans president Nick Rodriguez called for Alkilani to be expelled for what he did.
“At a minimum, I believe he should be removed from both SU [student union] and his [resident adviser] position, as what does it say to be a top American institution, and have yourself represented by a student leader who has no respect for property, campus traditions or the remembrance of thousands of lost lives,” Rodriguez said.
“Today is about remembering the tragedy, 20 years ago to the day, not to make a political statement. Any reason he can conjure to remove the flags I find ludicrous,” he added.
Alkilani reportedly fired back by saying, “I did not violate any university or legal policy. Now go away.” He also bragged about what he did, saying that he wanted to “protest against American imperialism and the 900,000 lives lost as a result of post 9/11 war.”
“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,” Alkilani said.
“My planned protest was to place the bags of flags on Mudd Field, along with various statistics explaining the human cost of 9/11 in the past 20 years,” he added. “On the sides of the bags, some writing may be visible, but the full statement was not outlined at the time of the video. I did not deface, destroy, damage, nor steal any flags, nor did I interfere with any registered event time. I assert that I did not violate any University Code of Conduct policy, though the conduct process is undergoing.”
“Muslims such as I have faced fear, harassment, and Islamophobia from those who unjustly use the victims of 9/11 as a political cudgel,” Alkilani continued. “Those who died during 9/11 deserve better than to be used as a political tool by those who seek to excuse American imperialism and Islamophobia.”
Given that we’re talking about a liberal arts university, it is unlikely that Alkilani will be punished in any way for this despicable protest.