A student senator at Washington University in St. Louis was caught red-handed stealing flags from a 9/11 memorial display and stuffing them in trash bags on September 11.
YAF was alerted on Saturday that a memorial display had been destroyed by a member of student government at WashU. 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.
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
Nathaniel Hope, a member of the WashU College Republicans, filmed student Fadel Alkilani carrying multiple trash bags stuffed with American flags he had plucked from the ground, as he continued to steal more. He appeared agitated at Hope for filming him destroying the display.
Alkilani had “no remorse,” Hope told YAF.
“He said that it was in violation of school rules,” Hope added. “He was also saying profanity.”
Further research revealed that Alkilani is also the chairman of the student senate finance committee, which is charged with doling out funds to student organizations.
YAF reached out to the Alkilani who replied, “I did not violate any university or legal policy. Now go away.”
In response to one twitter user, he said he stole the flags as an act of “protest against American imperialism and the 900,000 lives lost as a result of post 9/11 war.”
According to students participating in the 9/11: Never Forget Project at WashU, Alkilani also tried to destroy the display in the early hours of Saturday morning, around 1:oo am. He was seen throwing flags into trash cans and breaking the sticks of them, according to student witnesses. He was told to stop after campus police were called. After being caught once again later this morning, campus police were notified once more. This time they warned Alkilani he would be arrested if he disrupted the display again.
The stolen flags were eventually planted once more for the viewing and remembrance of everyone on campus.
Despite Alkilani’s claims that he was not disposing of the flags and his actions were simply part of a protest that never came to fruition, this proved untrue Sunday when Nathaniel Hope filmed multiple flags inside a trash can nearby the site of the September 11 confrontation with Alkilani.
Alkilani claimed on Instagram Saturday that he was not stealing or disposing of the flags, even calling it the “flag relocation incident.”
UPDATE: Despite Fadel Alkilani’s claims that he was not throwing away the flags, the conservative student who recorded the initial footage found flags in a trash can nearby the location of his confrontation just this morning. pic.twitter.com/cUsUCB8QTc
— YAF (@yaf) September 12, 2021
Nick Rodriguez, chair of the conservative group on campus, told YAF the incident shows the school has become “infected” with toxic campus culture. “To see a non-partisan, non-political memorial, disgraced without a swift response from the university says volumes.”
Similarly, YAF reported Saturday on a 9/11 display that was vandalized Friday night at Michigan State University. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.
Not only have people forgotten, but some are actively working to stifle remembrance. If we don’t remember September 11, 2001, and why we were targeted, history is bound to repeat itself. Our freedom and our way of life is still threatened. We must work that much harder to remember.
YAF reached out to Washington University asking them whether the student would face any disciplinary measures.
The university responded with the following statement:
“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.”
They did not address whether the student would face any disciplinary measures.
To voice your concern contact Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Rob Wild at Rob.firstname.lastname@example.org.