Fadel Alkilani was seen stuffing blue garbage bags with the flags Saturday on the campus in St. Louis, Missouri, before he’s confronted by another student who is recording him, college newspaper Student Life reported.
“[Alkilani] said that [the display] was in violation of school rules. He was also saying profanity,” Nathaniel Hope, a member of the university’s College Republicans, told conservative youth group Young America’s Foundation.
The College Republicans had placed the 2,977 flags on Mud Field ahead of the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
Footage published by YAF to Twitter denounced Alkilani’s behavior as “despicable.”
Alkilani, vice president of finance of the university’s Student Union, maintained his actions, stating his protest was to bring attention to the rise of Islamophobia and denounce US military intervention in the Middle East.
“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 the American Invasion,” he announced in a statement.
“A memorial which uses US flags is especially insidious, as it does not recognize those who have fallen, but uses a symbol that was on the shoulders of those who are responsible for the deaths of 900,000 people, and uses the innocent lives lost during 9/11 as a political prop upholding American hegemony.
He continued that the 9/11 victims “deserve better than to be used as a political tool by those who seek to excuse American imperialism and Islamophobia.
“They died for no reason, suddenly and traumatically, and they should be grieved, not by political symbols, but by their names and faces. I also want to extend my condolences to all those who have died and been injured, both American and not, since 9/11,” he stated.
School officials, though, announced they were “disappointed” over the incident.
“We were disappointed to learn about the disruption to the 9/11 display on Mud 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,” executive director Susan McGinn said in a statement.
She went on, “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.”