Thought it was part of a ‘book drive’
A Kent State University professor under federal investigation for alleged ties to the Islamic State not only has a criminal record, but he may also be a petty thief.
The College Fix found militant writings by Julio Pino, poor student reviews of his teaching, a disorderly-conduct charge from March 2003 and police records showing possession of a stolen Amazon Kindle device.
KentWired.com broke the story last week that Pino, an associate professor of history and Cuban-born convert to Islam, had been under investigation for ISIS ties by an FBI-Homeland Security task force for a year and a half. One allegation is that he recruited students to join ISIS.
After teaching class Thursday, Pino told the local media that “none of these allegations have any foundation whatsoever” and that he has “no ties to any political organization here in the United States or abroad.”
“In no way shape or form do I condone violence,” Pino said.
Pino’s own writings posted on Academia.edu suggest that he does, however. He has celebrated suicide bombers – even writing a poem to one “martyr,” published in Kent State’s student paper – and promised “academic friends of Israel” they would be dealt with for their “collaboration with fascism.”
That public letter to Israel’s academic friends says in part: “Your names are scrawled on every bullet fired, bomb dropped, body buried and burnt forehead in Gaza. May your names become a curse word on the lips of every justice-loving person on earth, along with ‘Obama’ and ‘Netanyahu.’” He then signs off: “Jihad until victory!”
Pino won “faculty excellence” awards in 2003 and 2010 – after his writings in favor of militant Islam went public.
It won’t work because it’s stolen
The disorderly-conduct charge is harder to flesh out. In an interview with The Fix, Kent Police Department Administrative Lieutenant Michael Lewis said the department no longer has the 12-year-old report on Pino owing to record-retention rules.
Pino’s possession of a stolen device is still on record, and it’s puzzling.
Police reports exclusively obtained by The Fix describe Kent police officers being dispatched to take a “suspicious circumstance” report. They were met by Pino, who said he brought back an Amazon Kindle from a recent trip to New York City but was not able to use it.
The professor said he had taken the device from a cafe “book drive” under the impression that it was free, and when he called Amazon to ask why it wouldn’t work, the company told him it was reported stolen and should be returned to police. Officers told him to just return the device on his next New York trip.
Just some casual ISIS photos and a 9/11 joke on Facebook
In 2007 University of North Carolina-Wilmington Prof. Mike Adams said he traced Pino to writings on a now-defunct “jihadist news service” that referred to the Kent State professor as “the most dangerous Muslim in America.” It referred to 2007 as “THE YEAR OF ISLAMIC VICTORY” and name-checked Osama bin Laden.
Months later Adams said he received an email claiming to be from Pino that celebrated jihad and martyrdom, but Pino never responded to Adams’ request to verify his authorship.
Adams recounted last week that he and an Ohio blogger had “lured” Pino into an email exchange that showed Pino was using the identity of a blogger for the jihadist news service.
The Daily Beast reported that in 2014 Pino displayed pictures of ISIS militants as “cover photos” on his public Facebook page and even posted a photo of himself in front of the U.S. Capitol with a comment that seemed to joke about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) January 21, 2016
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the Secret Service said in 2009 it was investigating Pino “as an individual who came to our attention who needed to be interviewed.”
‘Worst professor I’ve ever had’
Pino gets a “B” rating on RateMyProfessors.com. One student wrote in 2011 that Pino was “knowledgeable” and “may insult you with his opinions.” Another said in August 2014 that Pino’s course was “the worst Class I have ever had. Stay away from him.”
Yet another called Pino the “worst professor I’ve ever had. Grading methods completely unclear. Seems based on his own [point of view], NOT if you make clear, well-backed, cited arguments. Doesn’t give enough source material, and weak sources, to use for papers and too many films! Most not even documentary. Worked really hard, tons of time, went to office hours- still got nowhere.”
Kent State President Beverly Warren assured the community after the investigation was leaked that “there is no indication of a threat to campus,” and that while the school was cooperating with the FBI, “it is not prudent to speak further about the case.”
Warren said Pino’s stated views are “reprehensible and counter to our core values of civil discourse and respect … and he does not speak on behalf of Kent State or members of our community.”