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Saudi Grad Student Held In Killing of Professor in NY
From the NYTimes (with thanks to Del):
A 46-year-old Binghamton University graduate student from Saudi Arabia was charged on Saturday with killing a retired anthropology professor, a specialist in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies with whom he had worked, the authorities said.
The student, Abdulsalam S. al-Zahrani, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of the professor, Richard T. Antoun, who was stabbed in his office in the university’s Science I building on Friday afternoon, said Gerald F. Mollen, the district attorney in Broome County. “We believe the murder weapon was recovered,” he said.
Mr. Mollen said in a statement that Mr. Zahrani and Professor Antoun had known each other through Mr. Zahrani’s “work in the graduate program.” Later, in an interview, the district attorney said that “they’ve known each other for quite some time.” The extent of their contact was not immediately clear.
Mr. Zahrani, a citizen of Saudi Arabia who is a graduate student in anthropology, was being held without bail at the Broome County Sheriff’s Correctional Facility after his arraignment in Town Court in Vestal, N.Y., Mr. Mollen said.
Mr. Mollen declined to say whether Mr. Zahrani had made any statements to the authorities. He said he was unsure if the suspect had retained a lawyer.
Professor Antoun, 77, received a doctorate from Harvard in 1963 and joined the Binghamton faculty in the early 1970s. He was “a sociocultural anthropologist who has conducted research among peasants in Jordan, urbanites in Lebanon, peasant farmers in Iran and migrants in Texas and Greece,” according to the university’s Web site. He retired in 1999 as professor emeritus.
“He dedicated his life to trying to understand the people of the Middle East,” said the professor’s sister Linda Miller, of Holden, Mass. “He never said an unkind word to anyone in his life.”
Ms. Miller’s husband, the Rev. David J. Miller, said that Professor Antoun had been married to his wife, Rosalyn, for 17 years and had a son, Nicholas, 40.
Professor Antoun’s work focused on religion and the social organization of tradition in Islamic law and ethics, among other things, according to the university’s Web site. He had taught at the University of Chicago, Manchester University in England and Cairo University, according to his curriculum vitae...
We'll keep an eye on this story. It is possible that the student felt the professor was harming Islam in some manner, but he will probably not make a statement to the press if he hasn't already.