Police searching for suspect after 9/11 memorial vandalized, has “Taliban” spray painted on it

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GREENVILLE, NC – On the day following the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a granite memorial in the shape of the twin towers was damaged when someone spray-painted the word “Taliban” on both sides of the homage.

The memorial was constructed by Upstate Granite Solutions of Greenville, North Carolina, to commemorate those who died on September 11, 2001. The company’s owners were furious to hear that a vandal had spray-painted “Taliban” on various parts of the edifice at some point during the early morning hours of September 12th.

The vandalism was reported to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, who later took to Facebook announcing that security footage shows a subject committing the vandalism:

“As some of you know a 9/11 memorial was vandalized over the weekend.

Investigators have obtained video surveillance that depicts, what is believed to be, a white male pulling up to Upstate Granite Solutions at around 7:30am, on September 12th in a grey SUV.

The subject, wearing a dark hat, white shirt and dark pants, gets out a writes ‘Taliban’ on the memorial before driving down New Easley Highway towards Pickens County.

Investigators are asking for anyone with information regarding this incident to call Crime Stoppers of Greenville at 23-CRIME.”

Upstate Granite Solutions successfully removed the spray paint from the granite monument after the report was made, however the owners are still angry. In an interview with WSPA, Paul Nichols, CEO and co-founder of Upstate Granite Solutions, explained why the monument was created:

“We spent the time and money on this monument in order to bring our community together and unite over the memory of those who died on the attacks 20 years ago, as well as, those first responders who willingly laid down their lives to serve others.”

Nichols continued from there, adding, “this monument is meant to show the community how much we care and to offer our support to our military and our first responders and let people know there’s still something to believe in in America.”

Independent journalist Jackson Gosnell shared images of the suspect’s vehicle in the vandalism case, as the individual behind the damage is still at large.

In a post to Facebook, Upstate Granite Solutions wrote the following after announcing that they’d cleaned up the vandalism:

“Takes more than a little spray paint to destroy our spirit of patriotism! Someone vandalized the Twin Towers Memorial last night. Thankfully the damage was minimal and cleaned off.”

The memorial is placed in front of the Upstate Granite Solutions facility and comprises two 13-foot-tall 4,000-pound towers. It also features a light beam that can be seen from a distance of 25 miles. The monument is surrounded by a thousand American flags.

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Washington University student government official caught removing flags on 9/11 ‘to protest American imperialism’

(Originally published September 12th, 2021)

ST LOUIS, MO – A Washington University student senator was caught in the act of removing American flags from a 9/11 memorial on the twentieth anniversary of the tragic attack on our country.

The student, identified as Fadel Alkilani, was filmed plucking the flags from the ground and placing them into garbage bags – later claiming his actions were a form of protest against “Islamophobia” and “American imperialism”.

According to a report from YAF regarding the incident, Alkilani was caught pulling the American flags out of the ground on September 11th, which the flags were placed around the campus in an effort to pay homage to those who lost their lives on that fateful day back in 2001.

The memorial was actually a part of YAF’s “9/11: Never Forget Project”, where students could purchase and place 2,977 small flags into the ground in honor of the victims of 9/11, which Washington University was cited as a participant of the memorial project.

Nathaniel Hope, a member of the Washington University’s College Republicans, was the person who caught Alkilani stuffing all the flags into garbage bags, which Alkilani expressed irritation when being filmed by Hope:

“Who are you? Okay…kinda weird when some random person walks up and photographs you.”

Hope said that Alkilani later claimed that the 9/11 memorial “was in violation of school rules,” and when Alkilani was later reached for comment by YAF regarding the incident, he responded with “I did not violate any university or legal policy. Now go away.”

After YAF posted the video of Alkilani on Twitter, he smugly responded to the tweet online with the following:

“I was not throwing them away, I was labeling them in bags on the field, get it right.”

Editor of The Post Millennial, Andy Ngo, shared a screenshot of Alkilani’s response to the incident from her personal Instagram account, which read as follows:

“Currently, there is a massive harassment campaign propagated primarily by Washington University College Republicans, as well as the national Young Americans Foundation (YAF) regarding an incident that occurred at approximately 6 am on Saturday, September 11, 2021.

There is a large amount of misinformation circulating, and I seek to explain both what occurred and why it happened.”

“American hegemony. Muslims such as I have faced fear, harassment, and Islamophobia from those who unjustly used the victims of 9/11 as a political cudgel.

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. 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. Their deaths were preventable, and thus, extremely tragic.”

Alkilani has since deleted his Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts following the immense pushback and criticism he faced over his tarnishing of the 9/11 memorial.

According to students at the university who assisted with setting up the memorial, Alkilani also tried to destroy the display on the evening of September 10th but was told to stop once campus police were called that evening.

Eventually, the stolen flags were retrieved and replanted once again to honor the fallen Americans. Jonathan Barnes, an assistant professor of chemistry at Washington University, took to Twitter to share a photo of the memorial after the flags had been retrieved, adding the following statement:

“This student’s actions do not represent the broader WashU community, which values freedom of expression. I just confirmed tonight (at 10:20 pm CT) the American flags and sign remain on display.”

Washington University have not made mention on whether Alkilani will face any sort of discipline over the attempted theft of the memorial flags, but did offer the following statement when reached for comment by YAF:

“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.”

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Watch: American flags on display honoring 9/11 victims damaged within hours of being put up

(Originally published September 11th, 2021)

BOSTON, MA- According to reports, several American flags planted at the Public Garden in Boston in honor of 9/11 victims were damaged just hours after the display went up. 

On Wednesday, September 8th, 2,977 American flags were planted. Each represents someone who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Within hours many of them at been bent, snapped in half or uprooted and scattered on the sidewalk.

Trash cans in the area were also reportedly knocked over and signs explaining the significance of the memorial were missing. Police stated that detectives were investigating the case as vandalism.

Reporter Nick Giovanni shared video footage of the scene at the park. Watch below:

In a subsequent post, he shared a photo of a women kneeling among the flags, writing:

“Ashton Fagan felt compelled to stop while on a walk through the Public Garden to help pick up some of the American flags uprooted overnight.”

Fagan said:

“We should stand for our flag and I will do that every single day.”

According to reports, approximately 30 people with Project 351 placed the flags and encouraged citizens to perform acts of kindness and service to honor those lost on September 11th.

Carolyn Casey, who is the executive director and founder of the project, described the vandalism incident as “heartbreaking and disappointing.” She added:

“I just don’t understand, honestly, what would motivate somebody to do something like this.”

Boston 25 News posted a video on Facebook of volunteers creating the display. Casey added that watching people be enthusiastic about restoring the display was inspiring. She said:

“It says that the best of our humanity is what gets us through every challenge or any challenge. But, as we know in Boston and Massachusetts, any time there is a challenge or there are acts of hatred, people respond with love, with unity, and community.”

She added:

“That’s what happened when I walked in this morning. There were all these people who had just stopped or saw it on the news and came down to make sure all the flags were still up.”

Teresa Mathai, who lost her husband Joseph on 9/11, believes more education is needed about the day that changed the lives of so many people. Mathai said:

“I got a shock. I held my heart it was a physical reaction. Current generation, most probably born after 9/11 who don’t understand the importance of it. The gravity, the history of it.”

Susan Butterfield said she was disappointed when she saw what had been done to the display, adding:

“I feel close to this because I’m a former flight attendant. I was going over to my car and I was going to view this as a memorial, a remembrance. So, I was very, very sad to see this kind of thing happening in our city.

It’s devastating that something like this could happen. But, it’s happening all over the country so I’m really, really very disappointed in people to have done this.”

Boston police reported that by late afternoon on Thursday, September 9th, a suspect had been identified. They were offered services by outreach workers and will be summoned to court for vandalism. 

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