A Kent State professor who once described Israel as “a regime that is the spiritual heir to Nazism” is under investigation by the FBI for possible ties to terror group ISIS.
Fox News reported that Julio Cesar Pino, an associate professor of history at Kent State University in Ohio, is being investigated by the FBI. Investigators have reportedly questioned Pino’s colleagues and students in the ongoing probe.
An FBI spokesperson confirmed to the Akron Beacon Journal Tuesday that the agency is investigating Pino but would not offer more information “because it’s an ongoing investigation.”
Pino denied any links to ISIS, the terror group that claimed responsibility for the deadly Paris attacks, in a conversation with the publication.
“I’ve never broken the law. I support no violence or violent organizations. 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,” Pino stated.
A spokesperson for the school told Fox News that Pino was still teaching classes despite the investigation. The university said in a statement that it was “fully cooperating with the FBI” and that the agency provided assurances that there was no threat to campus.
Pino, a convert to Islam, is known for his anti-Israel rhetoric. He penned an open letter to “academic friends of Israel” in 2014 that accused the pro-Israel community of being “directly responsible for the murder of over 1,400 Palestinian children, women, and elderly civilians.” In the letter, he also described Israel as “the spiritual heir to Nazism.” He concluded the note with a call for “jihad.”
Years earlier, Pino shouted “Death to Israel” at a public lecture delivered by a former Israeli diplomat at Kent State. He also penned a column eulogizing a suicide bomber in 2002, according to the Beacon Journal.
Pino told the Akron publication that the investigation was likely sparked by his controversial statements about the Middle East.
“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. Rumors start, and that’s the only thing I can think would draw attention from a government agency,” Pino said.