From Fairfax To Richmond, "The Jihad Way?"
Esam Omeish's campaign web site is fairly typical for a candidate for state delegate. The big issues for his Fairfax County district are traffic congestion, growth issues and public education.
But Omeish, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the 35th district, covering an area from Vienna west to Monument and Leehigh, is no ordinary candidate. He's a surgeon with a classic immigrant success story, having arrived in this country as a young boy who spoke no English, yet rose up through the Fairfax school system to attend Georgetown University.
And Omeish is also a Muslim fundamentalist rabble-rouser whose videotaped rants urging crowds of demonstrators to adopt "the jihad way" led to his resignation from Virginia's state Commission on Immigration just 24 hours or so after Gov. Tim Kaine appointed him to the panel last fall.
Oddly enough, Omeish's campaign site somehow manages not to mention any of his activities on behalf of his brethren in the Middle East. But the evidence is all over the web. Here's the full speech Omeish gave at a Jerusalem Day rally in December, 2000, in which he says that "We, the Muslims of the Washington metropolitan area, are here today in sub-freezing temperatures to tell our brothers and sisters in Palestine that you have learned the way, that you have known that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land. And we by standing here today... we are telling them that we are with you, we are supporting you, and we will do everything that we can, insha'allah, to help your cause."
Here's another speech, from a rally in front of the Israeli embassy, also in 2000, in which Omeish said "We need to congratulate our brothers and sisters in Palestine for their bravery, for their giving up their lives.... They have spearheaded the effort to bring victory upon the believers in Palestine."
A candidate who speaks with great pride and zest to an audience of fellow Muslims about people "giving up their lives..for the sake of the Muslim honor" should also be someone who happily delivers the same message to the Virginia voters he hopes will choose him for public office. But there is not a word in Omeish's campaign literature about this great passion of his life.
After these video recordings were revealed and Omeish stepped down from his appointment to the immigration commission, he said he never promoted violence and accused his critics of perpetrating a "smear campaign." Cheering on "the jihad way" "was related to giving support to people who are under occupation and who are under severe conditions of repression," Omeish said at the time. "It was not a call for violence. It was never any condoning of terrorism or any violent acts."
Omeish faces three other candidates in the June 9 Democratic primary to succeed Delegate Steven Shannon, who is stepping down because he is running for state Attorney General. The other candidates in the primary are Roy Baldwin, a family lawyer and estate planner in Oakton who was active in the Vienna-Tysons chamber of commerce; John Carroll, a criminal lawyer in Fairfax who grew up in Vienna; and Mark Keam, a Korean immigrant and former chief counsel to Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin.
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