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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.

By Marc Fisher |  April 29, 2009; 8:25 AM ET  | Category:  Fairfax , Politics , Virginia
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Thank you for your article about Dr. Esam Omeish's jihadist views. I was surprised, but pleased, to read such an honest article in the Washington Post.

As a voter in the 35th district, it makes me sick that this man could serve as my representative. I do not want him to emerge as the Democratic candidate in a 4-way primary race.

Posted by: northernvirginiastan | April 29, 2009 9:16 AM

Not a call for violence--yeah, right. We need to start NOT electing fundamentalists of any religion. If they seek to live their lives according to some ancient superstition, that's their business. The problem, however, is that fundies ALWAYS try to impose their beliefs on others. They do not recognize the concept of secular law. In fact, they consider it part of their religious calling to destroy the belief systems of others. Muslims in particular seem to subscribe, at least in part, to this phenomenon. Or maybe they're just cowed by the fundies among them.

Posted by: Claudius1 | April 29, 2009 9:30 AM

Omeish is unoriginal with his logo, too; it's a pretty obvious ripoff of the Obama "O".

Posted by: bokamba | April 29, 2009 11:24 AM

It'd be interesting to see how the editorial page would justify endorsing him if he gets the nomination.

Posted by: tomtildrum | April 29, 2009 12:18 PM

Dr. Esam Omeish is no doubt enjoying and benefiting from President Obama's muslim faith and his behind-the-scenes efforts to help Palestinian muslims emigrate to the U.S. Even if Dr. Omeish is not elected his wish to launch jihad here could very well come to pass, thanks to Obama. Unfortunately that could spell the beginning of the end of America as I know it, but hey - elections have consequences, as my liberal friends delight in repeating.

Posted by: realist2 | April 29, 2009 12:25 PM

An enlightening article, Marc!

I am also a 35th district voter, and I intend to vote in the Democratic primary. I looked at the candidates' websites a couple of weeks ago. After reading Dr. Omeish's biography, I remember wondering "How does doing thousands of surgeries qualify you to represent me in Richmond?"

I think Mark Keam has far and away the most experience for the job, and I'm going to vote for him.

I fully agree with previous posters that we shouldn't elect fundamentalists of any stripe, and that Omeish has blatantly copied Obama's logo.

Posted by: Rocketman1 | April 29, 2009 12:36 PM

Im sure if he had said such things but on the pro-Israel side there wouldn't be an issue.

Posted by: Guvnor1 | April 29, 2009 12:45 PM

Guvnor1- I doubt it. There's a lot of people that are anti-Israel that would take exception to that if he were, and even a lot of pro-Israel individuals.

The problem is that one really can't objectively claim that such things can be said for the pro-Israel side, since frankly they don't resort to such tactics. That hardly means Israel's leaders are beyond criticism in at least some of their actions against Palestine, but there is a clear distinction between the two.

Posted by: Comunista | April 29, 2009 12:58 PM

Dr. Esam Omeish is no doubt enjoying and benefiting from President Obama's muslim faith and his behind-the-scenes efforts to help Palestinian muslims emigrate to the U.S. Even if Dr. Omeish is not elected his wish to launch jihad here could very well come to pass, thanks to Obama. Unfortunately that could spell the beginning of the end of America as I know it, but hey - elections have consequences, as my liberal friends delight in repeating-FYI YOUR PRESIDENT IS NOT A MUSLIM, PLEASE DO NOT TRY AND MUDDLE THE MASSES WITH TREASON LIKE STATEMENTS. FOLKS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD READ THIS PAPER. WE SHOULD NOT LET OTHER COUNTRIES TRULY KNOW OF OUR IGNORANCE.

Posted by: MsKarma2 | April 29, 2009 1:16 PM

I went to Dr. Omeish in January to have a cyst removed. He was very professional and quite engaging. I liked him alot. I was unaware of his advocacy on behalf of jihadists. As far as I'm concerned, he's a good doctor who should keep the white medical coat on and leave legislation to others.

Posted by: lingering_lead | April 29, 2009 1:33 PM

"Im sure if he had said such things but on the pro-Israel side there wouldn't be an issue."

Right, Guvnor, and if your aunt had balls she'd be your uncle. Let's deal with the real world, k?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | April 29, 2009 1:46 PM

Here's what I find depressing about this. I think Mark Keam is an inspiring, effective candidate. He's got great political skills, was an early and effective supporter of Obama in northern Virginia a year before the rest of us picked up on Obama's campaign, and brings together an interesting background, much like Obama's, that combines significant experience with living abroad with a depth of experience in the U.S. and in civic activism. Every time I have met him at a public event he has remembered me and taken a moment to talk seriously before moving on. He's a good guy.

But a good candidate like him (and for all I know, the other candidates) doesn't really count as "news" in quite the same way as a candidate who has previously promoted the "jihadist way."

I have no idea whether that guy meant "jihad" as in moral or personal struggle (a common usage), and of course it's worth discussing -- but my point here is that the candidates who DIDN'T talk about "jihad" could benefit from some close attention from voters as well, and conventional news judgment is never going to get even an inch of column space for them. This is such a shame.

I urge everyone who is a voter in that primary to take a close look at all of the candidates. I hope you agree with me that Mark Keam is an asset to the region and the party, but all of them are working hard and they deserve your attention. Please research, please vote.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | April 29, 2009 1:49 PM

Hey realist2- Obama is a Christian ,you NITWIT! Grow up!

Posted by: nieci6719 | April 29, 2009 2:11 PM

So he lies and hides his past.

How is that any different than the typical campaigning Democrat ??

Posted by: gitarre | April 29, 2009 2:31 PM

"So he lies and hides his past.

How is that any different than the typical campaigning Democrat ??"


See, that's why the Democrats are winning, here and nationally.

One, that comment isn't really funny, original, or witty (it's just tired and predictable) and two, it doesn't put forward anything fresh or positive for me to associate with Republicans. It's just name calling. Keep it up, GOPers.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | April 29, 2009 2:36 PM

Marc, would you be making this fuss if Dr. Omeish were a radical evangelical Christian, who used his position to proseletyze the unfaithful and punish those who did not convert? Apparently, the U.S. military is rife with this kind of activity. No one complains when the jihadists are "our guys".

Posted by: n_mcguire | April 29, 2009 2:58 PM

I wish Edythe Kelleher had stayed in this race because she has been extremely active in Vienna/Fairfax politics for many years. All politics is local and Edythe knew local politics like nobody's business. However, since Edythe had to drop out, I guess Mark Keam is the next best thing. He seems a little more of a "career politician" than someone who will carry the Fairfax torch in Richmond. However, this Omeish guy clearly has another agenda entirely. Many of us already knew about Omeish's wild speeches from Youtube - however, I'm glad it's been made even more public by the WaPo.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | April 29, 2009 2:59 PM

fairfaxvoter: just as you asked gitarre to come up with something fresh & positive, I'll ask you to come up with the same. Please don't lump all Republicans into the same pile just because one person made a flippant remark against Democrats. You, after all, made just as flippant a remark against Republicans in your reply.

In order for us to tackle the big issues we face, we've all got to stick to the issues and stop the personal attacks against each other. They're not constructive or helpful in any way. In this particular case, the big issue is making sure the voters in the 35th are well informed about their choices so that they can go to the polls knowing all the facts. I trust we agree on that much, at least?

Posted by: PoliticsOnMyMind | April 29, 2009 3:03 PM

His views do not promote violence? Are you kidding me? The word "jihad" means "holy war" in Arabic, so how the hell is this dude not preaching hate? I guess he considers Hamas a legit, non-terror based organization that is justified in thier launching of rockets over the boarder to Israel.

Posted by: smckaho420 | April 29, 2009 3:26 PM

just another muslim democrat like obama to join the plantation of hate against the USA. thank you democrats for hating the USA and helping bring down the free world.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | April 29, 2009 3:52 PM

wow! one fundamentalist extremist democratic candidate. that makes the ratio 1:35,000 fundamentalist republican candidates. no worries, mate, this guy don't make it out of the primary. their guys, well, they lead the minority parties in the US senate and house...

Posted by: a-littlebird-ptolemy | April 29, 2009 3:54 PM

Mark Fisher...we all know you hate muslims, but you hit a new low today. Obama might be our president, but garbage like you still exist, writing your screed with your best friend Bill Kristol.

Posted by: August30 | April 29, 2009 4:11 PM

Ignorance alone can be a deadly disease. Therefore, I urge you to read "Jihad against the Abuse of Jihad" on this link to better understand "Jihad". Then, you will understand Mr. Fisher's tactics behind the embedded speeches & message that are design to instill fear in the hearts and minds of District 35 voters against Candidate Omeish.
Thank you

Posted by: sadiaaden | April 29, 2009 7:20 PM

FTA: "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."

Of course. Is a call to jihad when spoken by a Muslim in a Western country and noticed by the media ever a call to violence?

Posted by: gjtitus | April 29, 2009 8:37 PM

Mayor Fenty takes a trip to Dubai, and Mark Fisher raises hell. A muslim woman is denied service at a bank in Maryland by a bigoted teller, and Mark Fisher is conspicuously quiet. Now Mr. Fisher again trying to stigmatize an entire religion by attacking this person who obviously is very emotional and not too smart. Am I the only one seeing a pattern here? Mr. Fisher....Let me be the first to say you are a bigot of the first water, and I'm sorry you didn't leave town with your beloved idol, George W. Bush.

Posted by: playa_brotha | April 29, 2009 9:15 PM

I guess one man’s “rabble-rouser” is another’s “straight-faced activist.”

As an accomplished surgeon, Dr. Esam Omeish has been treating patients (from all walks of life) at their most vulnerable times; and as a selfless activist, has invested years in building bridges of understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in the US.

Over the years, Dr. Omeish has not shied away from speaking truth to power.

Just like any committed activist frustrated by the ugly facts on the ground would, Dr. Omeish shouted out the truth that the world needed to hear. He raised his voice on behalf of the voiceless and the oppressed people of Palestine so that it may echo inside the bulwarked chambers of justice; so that it may galvanize people of conscience to join in demanding basic human rights for the Palestinian people. [Who would not understand that where there is no justice there is never peace?]

Any people subjected to similar daily humiliation that systematically corrodes the dignity endowed by the Creator to the human being regardless of his/her color, ethnicity or religion would resist their oppressor to their last breath. And, any people who are arbitrarily denied the rights of movement, routinely subjected to psychological, physiological, and economical torture like the people of Palestine would have to endure a daily jihad in order to keep their sanity and to survive- Jihad in the most comprehensive sense…including self-defense.

So, what is the concern, Mr. Fisher? Is it because Dr. Omeish mentioned the most misunderstood word in the American lexicon (jihad) in the public sphere, in a post 9/11 climate? Whatever it may be, at the end of the day, I am confident reason will prevail over fear. And objective voters will ultimately ask themselves: why can we not trust a licensed surgeon who is in the life-saving business, who is entrusted to operate daily on American patients under general anesthesia, to make decisions dealing with “congestion, growth issues and public education”?

Abukar Arman

Posted by: abukar_arman | April 29, 2009 11:36 PM

On these 100th day of our great president Barack HUSSEIN Obama (Notice the middle name of our president, Mr. Fisher?), Mark must be feeling nostalgic for the past eight years when one could drop words like "Jihad", "Islam", "Allah" and have a frenzied mob ready to lynch Dr. Omeish on the spot.

Posted by: playa_brotha | April 30, 2009 12:14 AM

It is true that Dr. Omeish is a fervent Muslim and a deeply religious man. Human qualities that should be seen as qualities, but unfortunately, are being used against him.
The sad part about this, is that people who do not have fluency in other languages do not understand that meaning of words, get muddled in translation. Jihad, in the literary aspect means "struggle", which is an appropriate word for any people who suffer, or who are challenged by anyway that will hinder their ability to suceed...
Do any of you, who smear Dr. Omeish's name, or any individual for that matter, ever left your corner of the world to explore the world of others? Do you, in the comfort of your home, resident of one the richest district in No.VA., ever felt any empathy for people who...struggle? And...have you ever...struggled? Do you even know what that means???
This candidate for delegate of the 35th district is Muslim and he did say the word struggle, only in his mother tongue this word is pronounced "jihad".His faith and his ability for human empathy, are the exact traits that make him a deeply compassionate man who treats his patients regardless of their ability to pay...because his mans faith and his understanding of the word struggle,which translated into this mans mother tongue is jihad, is what makes him what he is: A deeply kind man, with a brilliant mind, a political vision of social justice, education and health care for all,so our own life jihad won't be such as...struggle.
Oh, BTW: I am a Christian and an American and I support Dr. Omeish.

Posted by: nascinorio | April 30, 2009 5:04 PM

I am confident to say that again we here are encountering another "islam-o-phobic" article that loves to twist the words of others to make it seem like Dr. Omeish is some sort of jihadist.

So I challenge you, ALL OF YOU, walk up to a Muslim person and ask them, what does the word JIHAD mean in arabic? They will, with no hesitation, answer you and say that Jihad means, STRUGGLE, whether it be personal, physical, mental...etc.

So please stop acting like you understand a mass majority of people in the world by basing it on the media's definition of Jihad, and try to get to know a Muslim.

I guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised when you get to know one. We all need to embrace one another and not cause more division in our nation. It is enough its been going on for the past 8 years, we dont need more of that in this administration.

Posted by: SpeaksTheTruth | April 30, 2009 5:28 PM

It appears that a fringe few are misconstruing the message of man’s unalienable right to reject oppression. It’s no secret that Palestine today, and since 2000, has been an oppressed state for over 50 years; a human population whose rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have been readily disregarded.

The Declaration of Independence sanctioned the Revolutionary War for what other reasons than to defeat the unlawful oppression and tyrannical rule of King George III?; A document authored by, perhaps, the most renowned Virginian.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government”

So, even if the use of the term ‘struggle’ does support physical resistance against tyranny, who are we to trample over the very same logic that founded our very nation?—drafted by one of Virginia’s favorite sons.

The references in the Quran to ‘struggle’ speaks along the same lines as the Declaration above.

"And why should you not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? - Men, women, and children, whose cry is: 'Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You, one who will protect; and raise for us from You, one who will help.'" - Qur’an English Translation [4:75]

“If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things.” - Qur’an English Translation [8:61]

In response to the second commenter, asserting “We need to start NOT electing fundamentalists of any religion.” If Dr. Omeish’s comments are considered religious fundamentalism, than I’d be interested to hear his take on the author of the Declaration cited above—effectively referencing man’s "Creator" as an authority enabling just struggle?

“But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America.”—Thomas Jefferson, November 29, 1775

Posted by: TruthsAdvocate | April 30, 2009 7:15 PM

It was inevitable that supporters of Dr. Omeish would weigh in after the critics.

Stop telling us that the word “jihad” is misunderstood. Jihad is about spreading Islamic supremacy through any means possible. If jihad is misunderstood, don’t condescend to us: persuade the thousands (millions?) of Muslims who believe that jihad embraces terrorism against non-Muslims. Tell the Muslim scholars who interpret jihad in such terms.

The Palestinians about whom Dr. Omeish speaks engage in, or otherwise support, terrorist acts that kill and maim Israelis as they go about their daily lives. If they stopped supporting terrorist acts, then punitive actions by the Israelis would cease.

What has been omitted from this discussion is that Dr. Omeish is past President of the Muslim American Society. The Muslim American Society is the U.S. arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, the global organization dedicated to spreading and enforcing Muslim supremacy. Al-Qaeda has its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood (Ayman al-Zawahiri was part of the Muslim Brotherhood) and the Brotherhood's ideology, which itself is derived from primary authoritative Islamic text, provides the intellectual underpinnings of Al-Qaeda.

Dr. Omeish has spoken favorably about sharia, the punitive Islamic law that has deleterious consequences for non-Muslims and women alike.

As a non-Muslim woman who is a voter in the 35th District, I do not want a man supporting such views as my representative. I am committed to his defeat.

Posted by: northernvirginiastan | May 1, 2009 11:16 AM

As far as criticism is concerned, we don’t resent that unless it is absolutely biased, as it is in most cases...Dr. Omeish is a successful doctor and an attestation to the American Dream...

Posted by: adam20529 | May 2, 2009 2:13 AM

THE TEA PARTIES should tell everyone that it is way past time to stand up and speak up. WHY NOT go to this jihaddi's speaking engagaments and demonstrate against him? That is a great way to stop jihad in America. If you do not stand up now, election fraud will usher many of these creeps into "office." The dems will support anyone who can get enough votes, and they like all the money behind these jihaddis.

IT's time to get out there and protest. I know. It's time consuming. But I'd rather do it now and have it behind me than in front of me when they have stolen the election and are passing sharia's a little late then to protest, wouldn cha say? Yeah, I am overweight, uncmfortable in the heat, but I am up at 3:30 am painting my sign and I will stand out in the cold, the heat the rain to stop this guy. He doesn't seem to think we are willing to do anything to stop him.

Today he is "speaking" in front of a crowd at derby day in a shopping center on a huge main highway...I am going to be there if I am the only one with my six foot long sign and my American's time, it's time...
If you do not know where this guy will be next or who is suporting him, get on his email list and find out.

Posted by: sara3t3t | May 2, 2009 4:08 AM

Dear Mr or Mrs sara3t3t,
you are wrong, today Dr. Omeish was at the OR saving lives all day...

Posted by: StoptheGOP | May 4, 2009 2:12 AM

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