Kent State professor under FBI scrutiny denies ties to ISIS, denounces violence
History professor Julio 'Assad' Pino, infamous for his hardline anti-Israel rhetoric, is currently under FBI investigation. Recovered Facebook posts indicate that he may have been sympathetic to terrorist causes, authorities say.
The FBI is currently investigating a Kent State University professor with possible ties to Islamic terrorists.
History professor Julio “Assad” Pino, known for his anti-Israel rhetoric, has been under federal investigation for the past year and half, an anonymous source with the Federal Bureau of Investigation told the Kent University news service.
For his part, Dr. Pino says he does not have any type of connection with the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
“I’ve never broken the law. I support no violence or violent organizations,” he told the Akron Beacon Journal. “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.”
According to the Ohio university, he’s still teaching classes.
"Kent State is fully cooperating with the FBI," the university said in a statement to Fox News. "As this is an ongoing investigation, we willl have no further comment. The FBI has assured Kent State that there is no threat to campus."
Pino was born in Cuba and later converted to Islam. Authorities say recovered Facebook posts suggest that he’s sympathetic to terrorist causes.
"Sheik Osama (May Allah be Pleased with Him) was the greatest, and desrves [sic] praise for kicking off this jihad," a post from an account under his name says, referring to Osama bin Laden, Fox reports. "However, the organization he left behind is not the same AQ he founded. The brave warriors of AQAP and the Nusraf Jabbat should join #IslamicState."
He told the Beacon Journal that the probe is a response to his outspoken rhetoric on the Middle East – specifically, Israel. In 2011, he shouted “Death to Israel!” during a lecture by a former Israeli diplomat and has previously written controversial op-eds eulogizing a suicide bomber and criticizing American foreign policy.
“I can only imagine, given my past record at Kent State dealing with controversial issues about the Middle East, some people may be favorable or unfavorable,” he said. “Rumors start, and that’s the only thing I can think would draw attention from a government agency.”
Several of his colleagues and students have already been interviewed by the FBI. In 2014, he accused fellow academics of causing the deaths of 1,400 Palestinians, the Journal reported.