Scholarship News

University Professor Investigated for Ties to ISIS


January 22, 2016
by Jess Hanch
The FBI is investigating a Kent State University history professor for alleged ties to today's most talked about terrorist organization, ISIS. Professor Julio C. Pino has been under investigation for more than a year by an FBI joint terrorism task force. The special agent who confirmed the investigation chose to remain anonymous. According to the agent, there is no direct threat to the university. However, the professor will remain under investigation for his ties to the organization, and for allegedly recruiting students to join ISIS.

The FBI is investigating a Kent State University history professor for alleged ties to today's most talked about terrorist organization, ISIS. Professor Julio C. Pino has been under investigation for more than a year by an FBI "joint terrorism task force." The special agent who confirmed the investigation chose to remain anonymous. According to the agent, there is "no direct threat to the university". However, the professor will remain under investigation for his ties to the organization, and for allegedly recruiting students to join ISIS.

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Pino openly supports Palestinians in the current Israel-Palestine conflict, and caused controversy on campus when he stated in class that scholars who supported Israel were "directly responsible for the murder of 1,400 Palestinian children, women, and elderly civilians". Although Pino converted to Islam in 2000, he confidently told reporters that he does not support the Islamic State (ISIS), nor does he discuss the terrorist organization in class. He also stated he has always been clear about his political views and "stands in defense for civil-liberties [by] fulfilling my duties as an American citizen by speaking out on issues that some people find controversial," including the Israel-Palestine conflict. In light of the investigation, he told reporters "I follow the law. I advocate that others do also. And I ask others to respect my freedom of speech as much as I respect theirs". This is his first FBI investigation, and he has a clean record.

Pino told reporters that neither the FBI nor Homeland Security had made him aware of the investigation in any way until now. He also had not heard anything from the University. Kent State's University Spokesmen Eric Mansfield told KentWired that "Kent State is fully cooperating with the FBI". The FBI Agent reported to KentWired that they interviewed several faculty members, and some of Pino's students about the accusation however there is no information yet about whether or not Professor Pino was interviewed. There is no further news on what will happen to Pino, and there have been no comments released from faculty or students. As of right now, Pino will continue to teach two history courses at Kent State this year, and will teach in the fall semester.

Although the FBI agent clearly stated that the campus is not directly in danger, the investigation is still prominent enough to make its way into the public eye. How do you stand on this issue? Do you support Professor Pino and his statement about his right to free speech? Would his past statements about the conflict in the Middle East be taken differently if he did not align as Muslim? Start a conversation and leave your comments below.

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Alexis P.  on  2/6/2016 10:01:26 AM commented:

I think it's OK that he supports the Palestinians. He can support who or what he wants, however, I believe since this is a controversial issue, he shouldn't present his views in a formal setting like this, at a university. It's not appropriate in my opinion. There are some things that should be discussed privately or in an informal environment. Not at a university class.

Kendra W  on  1/31/2016 2:18:49 PM commented:

Everyone has the right to free speech, but free speech does have conditions on it. A person can not talk of conspiracies nor sedition, and cannot say something if it falls under the pretexts of 'clear and present danger' or if a situation has a compelling governmental interest. So, if the professor was speaking for ISIS or even commenting of his support of them, then that has a compelling government interest for public safety since ISIS is dead set on destroying anything outside of their views. But, he should not be targeted just because he is Muslim. If Pine had suspicious activities, then the FBI had every right to investigate him. It's always better safe than sorry when national security is concerned.

Yolanda  on  1/29/2016 4:53:37 PM commented:

I agree with Java B. Mr.Pino can still support the Palestinians and say what he wants. However, I am sure Americans no longer believe in those people anymore. I can understand why the FBI and the homeland security have to keep an eye on him. Their job is to protect our country.

Kaya J  on  1/29/2016 9:32:36 AM commented:

The first amendment specifically states that everyone citizen of the United States of America has the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If the police and FBI are hunting this man down because he is of Muslim decent and he spoke out on his viewpoints of the Palestine and Israel conflict, then they are going against the 1st amendment of the constitution. Pino should have a right to express his viewpoints, especially if what he says doesn't threaten or harm an individual. Pino clearly stated to his classmates regarding Israel, "directly responsible for the murder of 1,400 Palestinian children, women, and elderly civilians." Did pino ever directly threaten anyone or any nation in this context? The answer is no. As citizens of the United States we have been promised freedom of speech and religion. Pino was obviously stereotyped because of his opinion and religion, and was seen as a huge threat for what? Pino was only was expressing his opinion , there is no need to invest or jail a citizen who is simply following the amendments that this country clearly praises and promotes.

Brittany Sephers  on  1/28/2016 10:57:23 PM commented:

I think piano should have been notified about the investigation and if the FBI wanted to investigate piano they should have interviewed him to get some type of feel of who he is and tell him the reasons as to why this investigation is going. I don't think this is right because the person was never questioned nor notified about this investigation.

Java B.  on  1/28/2016 1:59:28 PM commented:

Bigotry...he can support the Palestinians and he can say what he wants in his class.

Miriam T  on  1/27/2016 12:49:39 PM commented:

He may have phrased his comment on the Isreal problem better. But if you base your investigation on the fact that he is Muslim and supports Palestine in the conflict, then that is just bigoted. Though it wouldn't be a first for the FBI.

Amy M  on  1/27/2016 10:03:30 AM commented:

Just because Professor Pino is Muslim does NOT make him a terrorist. If the accusations that he has ties to ISIS cannot be confirmed, then he has every right to continue teaching. His freedom of speech should be respected.

Phamina M  on  1/26/2016 5:24:31 PM commented:

If the FBI is positive that Professor Pino has anything to do with ISIS, Why is he still there, I mean teaching and putting students lives in danger?

nmel  on  1/26/2016 4:56:36 PM commented:

wow just because he's a Muslim and supports Palestine that automatically makes him a suspected ISIS worker?? I'm not surprised. the FBI is very racist

GABRIEL M  on  1/26/2016 2:56:06 PM commented:

Is wrong to say, students who support Israel are responsible for the death of 1400 plastienian, but he could be right if he put it this way; the state is responsible for the death of 1400 plastianin people, meaning the state of Israel, because the state the subject to ICC, not the students. Is very young in politics

Sally  on  1/26/2016 2:31:33 PM commented:

there is no waiting to investigate remove him now, for the safety for the students

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