KENT, Ohio (TDB) -- Kent State University issued a statement today that strongly denies any involvement with an Islamic jihadist Web site that openly supports terrorist groups and Osama bin Laden's goals in Muslim world.
"Julio Pino, an associate professor of history at Kent State University, is being accused of authoring an anti-American Web site. This site has no connection to Kent State, and we object to having the university's name linked to it," the statement says. It was issued as an uproar develops over suggestions that the that the NE Ohio school could have looked the other way while a faculty member advocated slaughtering Americans. Rightwingers are disseminating the story at the speed of light, and even some liberals and centrists are wondering what was going on in Portage County.
[UPDATE: The latest from The Plain Dealer's Jesse Tinsley says Pino's comments about suicide bombers earlier this decade triggered a flap. He also writes that KSU is issuing "cease and desist" orders to blog and other sources to stop them from linking the school to the jihadist news service. That wording indicates some kind of legal action may be in the works.]
[UPDATE 2: Pho's Akron Pages delves into the hubbub and says the incident leaves many questions to be answered. He's level headed.]
The school said it investigated and has so far found "no evidence that this Web site is authored by Pino -- that is NOT [original emphasis] his picture on the site, and it contains no reference to him or to Kent State. In any case, there is no connection between this site and the university."
It also said no school servers were used to create or maintain the site, and that hate mail and threats are coming in against Pino and Kent State. It did not say if any disciplinary action will be taken against the professor, who was described as a competent teacher who converted to Islam.
A link to the jihadist site that is at the root of the tumult is HERE , and it definitely seems to cheer when Americans are killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Matt Naugle at RightAngleBlog was first to break this story in the Ohio blogosphere, and he got the scoop from Townhall.com, a conservative operation that brought the issue to light in the first place.