By Jordan Schachtel
A tenured Kent State University professor is under federal investigation for alleged involvement with the Islamic State terrorist organization. Both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are investigating the matter.
Julio Pino, a Cuban-born convert to Islam who teaches Latin American studies at Kent State University, has denied that he supports the Islamic State.
An unnamed FBI agent confirmed with university newspaper Kent Wired that Pino is indeed under investigation by federal agents. He is also being investigated for attempting to recruit his students to join the Islamic State, the FBI agent said.
“The FBI has assured Kent State that there is no threat to campus,” a Kent State spokesperson told the student paper.
Although he is under investigation for ties to a jihadi terror group, the professor told KentWired.com that he will teach two classes at Kent State this semester, and that he would continue his role into the foreseeable future.
Pino revealed in an interview on Tuesday that he had been a Muslim for sixteen years, having converted in the year 2000.
A review of the professor’s Facebook page shows he has in the past posted photos of jihadi terrorists, without stating a reason for doing so. He has also posted several pictures of the hammer and sickle, a pan-Communist symbol that was created during the Russian Revolution.
In 2011, Pino made headlines when he shouted “death to Israel” during a presentation by an Israeli diplomat. The president of Kent State condemned his hateful rhetoric, but did not terminate his employment.
Explaining his behavior, Pino said he was acting in the name of Islam. “The only politics I have are There is no God but God, and Mohammed is his messenger,” he said in reciting the Islamic creed. “They try to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will allow nothing but the perfection of that light, though the disbelievers dislike it.”
In 2007, an Internet petition surfaced calling for the termination of Pino’s employment. He was described as a “walking, talking time bomb.”
In 2002, he penned an op-ed in the Kent State campus newspaper praising a Palestinian suicide bomber. The jihadi “died a martyr’s death … in occupied Jerusalem, Palestine,” he wrote.
According to his Kent State biography, Pino has been a professor at the state-funded university since 1992 and received his PhD from the the University of California, Los Angeles.