Ilhan Omar’s Daughter Suspended From School For Pro-Hamas Activism

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Barnard College has suspended three students, including the daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), for their involvement in an unauthorized encampment protest supporting Palestine. The students were part of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on Columbia University’s South Lawn, which has been a flashpoint in recent weeks.

The suspended students, Maryam Iqbal, Soph Askanase, and Isra Hirsi—who is also Rep. Omar’s daughter—were informed of their interim suspension early Thursday morning through an email from Leslie Grinage, Dean of the College. The email cited participation in an unauthorized protest and failure to comply with prior warnings to disband as the reasons for the disciplinary action.

Last year in February, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a member of ‘The Squad,’ was removed from the influential Foreign Affairs Committee by Republicans due to her comments that were criticized as anti-Semitic.

The “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” emerged in response to what the participants called ongoing injustices faced by Palestinians. The encampment had called for Columbia University to divest from companies allegedly complicit in human rights abuses and to provide full transparency in its investment activities. The protests gained additional visibility after a public endorsement by Rep. Omar, following a Congressional hearing on related issues.

“We’ve been visible, the three of us, and have been giving interviews with our government names. But it’s also like, we know that we are, there’s no hiding … for us, like they will find us. We’re pretty visible even as people, like Maryam has been a speaker at multiple protests,” Hirsi claimed.

“Some of us, like I have colored hair and pretty colored glasses, I’ve spoken at pretty much every protest too.”
According to the university administration, the decision to suspend the students was based on a failure to adhere to university policies regarding unauthorized protests. “Students who are participating in the unauthorized encampment are suspended,” a campus spokesperson stated to the Columbia Spectator. “We are continuing to identify them and will be sending out formal notifications.”

On Thursday, Barnard College addressed the situation saying the Barnard staff warned that failing to leave the encampment would result in sanctions. “By 7 p.m. on the same day, the Barnard Senior Staff had distributed written warnings to the participants, clearly stating, “Students would receive interim suspensions if they did not leave the encampment by 9 p.m. on April 17,” the statement read.

As of the morning of April 18, the administration began placing identified students who remained in the encampment on interim suspension and plans to continue this action. It has temporarily restricted access to certain campus areas and is directing students in need of academic support or counseling to appropriate resources.

The suspended students have been vocal about their intentions and motivations. “I’m an organizer with CU Apartheid Divest @ColumbiaSJP, in my 3 years at @BarnardCollege i have never been reprimanded or received any disciplinary warnings,” Isra Hirsi tweeted shortly after the suspension notice.

“I just received notice that i am 1 of 3 students suspended for standing in solidarity with Palestinians facing a genocide… those of us in Gaza Solidarity Encampment will not be intimidated. we will stand resolute until our demands are met… our demands include divestment from companies complicit in genocide, transparency of @Columbia ’s investments and FULL amnesty for all students facing repression.”

The university has indicated that further disciplinary actions could be forthcoming as the situation develops. Meanwhile, the suspended students have the option to appeal their suspensions, but it remains unclear how the appeals process will unfold.

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