Bilal Ahmed Askaryar was the man charged with assault, according to Politico, in the effort to block Betsy DeVos from entering a public school. This is confusing, because I thought they wanted an education secretary who had “first-hand knowledge of public schools.”

It’s not clear yet exactly whom Askaryar is charged with assaulting, and Askaryar has pleaded not guilty.

Askaryar is a long-time human rights activist. He wrote a piece last month for NPR in which he tells the gripping story of fleeing Afghanistan with his family. Eventually they were granted asylum in the U.S. Askaryar writes that he and his family became citizens in 2000.

He told the story as well at the Washington Blade, the gay D.C., publication. In these stories, Askaryar recounts his family’s opposition to Soviet imperialism and to the Taliban.

An al Jazeera story from September 2011 tells Askaryar’s experience, as an Afghani-American following the 9/11 attacks, which were masterminded from Afghanistan, and the very Taliban regime that had driven him and his family out of the country.

Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner’s commentary editor, can be contacted at His column appears Tuesday nights on

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