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Old 12-06-2009, 06:34   #11
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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Originally Posted by Richard View Post

Seems as if nobody has a monopoly on nutcases...still.

3 Muslim students say they tried to avoid Al-Zahrani
Doug Schneider
5December 2006

VESTAL -- Encounters with accused killer Abdulsalam Al-Zahrani led several local Muslims to take steps to avoid him when they saw him on campus or elsewhere in the community.

Al-Zahrani, the man accused of fatally stabbing Binghamton University Professor Richard Antoun on campus Friday, had accused fellow Middle Eastern students of following him, answering a greeting of peace with an obscene insult, and disparaging a local mosque, according to three students interviewed Saturday night.

"Tell these students not to follow me," Awni Qasaimeh, a Jordanian studying for his doctorate in industrial and systems engineering, said Al-Zahrani told him last week. "Do not make me trouble."

Qasaimeh said Al-Zahrani mentioned three students by name, causing Qasaimeh to wonder if Al-Zahrani might want to harm the students. To Qasaimeh, Al-Zahrani did not behave like a Muslim because he smoked tobacco during Ramadan and failed to attend Friday prayer services.

Al-Zahrani faces a murder charge in the death of Antoun, an emeritus professor of anthropology. He was stabbed with a knife in an office area of BU's Science I building.

Mohammad Hamasha, another doctoral student from Jordan, recalled an encounter with Al-Zahrani on a bus in Johnson City a year ago.

Hamasha said he addressed Al-Zahrani with a traditional Muslim greeting meaning "peace be upon you." He said Al-Zahrani responded, "you are the brother of a (expletive)."

Hamasha was saddened this weekend to learn that tragedy had connected Al-Zahrani and Antoun.

"He (Antoun) had come to my country," said Hamasha, who recalled the professor speaking at Yarmouk University in Jordan. "He had made a very good impression" on people with whom he spoke.

Though Al-Zahrani claimed to be Muslim, the students said, a true follower of the religion would not have harmed a professor or have spoken as Al-Zahrani did. Kasim Kopuz, imam of the Islamic Association of the Southern Tier, said association members were not familiar with Al-Zahrani.

One student was offended by a comment Al-Zahrani made to him about a year ago.

"He insulted Islam, my religion, which is a good religion," said Samer Salameh, a master's degree candidate, who said Al-Zahrani used the phrase 'garbage in Johnson City' in an apparent reference to a local mosque. "That is not acting like a Muslim."
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