The FBI has confirmed it is investigating Kent State University Associate Professor Julio Pino for allegedly recruiting students on the schools' Ohio campus to join the Islamic State, or ISIS.
Emily Mills, a journalism student and editor of The Kent Stater, a student newspaper, told The New York Times t
hat she was questioned on Tuesday, with agents telling her they began looking into Pino's activities more than a year ago.
The teacher, who works in the school's history department, has been known for making anti-Israel remarks, but he denies any wrongdoing. At one rally, he shouted "Death to Israel" and has been quoted as encouraging jihad.
"My commitment is to my students and my passions reserved for my family," the tenured teacher said. "I have no ties no any political organization and wish only, in the words of the prophet Micah, ‘to act justly and love mercy,’ ” he told The Times in an email statement.
Pino is a Muslim convert and has been controversial since joining the university's faculty in 1992. In the past, he wrote a column for the student newspaper in 2002 eulogizing a suicide bomber after an attack in Jerusalem.
He also shouted "death to Israel" during a university lecture given by a former Israeli diplomat in 2011 and sent a letter in August 2014 against an academic publication, saying that he cursed it "more than the Israelis, for while The Chosen drain the blood of innocents without apologies you hide behind the mask of academic objectivity," and ending it "Jihad until victory."
University President Beverly Warren said that the school is cooperating with the FBI, but said there is no indication that there is a threat to the University.
"We continue to find Julio Pino’s comments reprehensible and counter to our core values of civil discourse and respect," she said. "As a university, we do not defend his views, and he does not speak on behalf of Kent State or members of our community.”
Warren said Pino will keep his teaching position while the investigation is going on, as he has neither been charged or found guilty of a crime.
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