By Blake Neff
A professor at Kent State University (KSU) in Ohio famous for his anti-Israel outbursts is now being investigated by the FBI for possibly being an Islamic State recruiter.
An unnamed FBI special agent told KentWired, KSU’s student newspaper, that associate history professor Julio Pino has been under investigation for about a year and a half.
According to KentWired, several faculty members and over 20 students have been interviewed about Pino’s behavior. The FBI is looking into possible connections between Pino and ISIS, as well as allegations that Pino attempted to recruit Kent State students to join the extremist group.
The investigation was confirmed by a Kent State official.
“Kent State is fully cooperating with the FBI,” spokesman Eric Mansfield said in a statement. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we will have no further comment.” Mansfeld said they had no reason to believe the university itself was in any danger.
Pino himself was reached by the Akron Beacon Journal, and vehemently denied any support for ISIS.
“I’ve never broken the law. I support no violence or violent organizations,” Pino said. “One man or one woman’s interpretation of events can be very different from another’s. As they say, ‘haters gonna hate.’ Truth always prevails, and truth will prevail in this case.”
If Pino really does have a link with ISIS, it would only be the latest and most spectacular twist in a career that has repeatedly involved denouncing the United States and Israel, sometimes in violent terms.
In 2002, Pino, a convert to Islam, wrote a column praising a teenaged Palestinian suicide bomber as a martyr, saying her actions should be “pronounced ‘justice’ and spelled C-O-U-R-A-G-E.’” At the time, a colleague of Pino’s noted that he enjoyed wearing military-style camouflage around town, but described it as a “fashion statement.”
In 2011, Pino attracted national attention when he shouted “Death to Israel!” during a lecture on campus by an Israeli diplomat.
More recently, during Israel’s 2014 incursion into the Gaza Strip, Pino authored an open letter suggesting that academics who support Israel should be killed.
“You have chosen to openly work for and brag about academic collaboration with a regime that is the spiritual heir to Nazism,” he said. “We both know the fate of collaborators.” The letter ended with the declaration “Jihad until victory!”
Despite his repeated outbursts, Pino was able to keep his job at Kent State, receiving a salary subsidized by Ohio taxpayers.
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