Scroll down for updates.
Hat tip to Thomas Paine and others who sent us the information which has now been updated with the suspects information. Why did this man stab a professor of Middle Eastern studies who has authored “Understanding Fundamentalism: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Movements,” and other books on Islam over the last 20 years, particularly related to Jordan?
VESTAL — Abdulsalam Al-Zahrani has been charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Binghamton University Professor Richard T. Antoun.
Al-Zahrani was taken to the Broome County Jail at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, said Broome County Sheriff’s Sgt. Paul Carlson. He arraigned in Vestal Town Court Saturday morning. No bail was set.
Al-Zahrani, of Main Street, Binghamton, was charged by Binghamton University Police. Al-Zahrani was a cultural anthropology student working on his dissertation, according to the university Web site.
Professor Passes Away After Stabbing at Binghamton University | WBNG News | Dec 4, 2009
Violence strikes the Binghamton University campus in Vestal.
As a professor passed away after being attacked by a student.
A Binghamton University professor is dead tonight after being stabbed by an anthropology student.
It happened around 1:45 pm Friday in the Science 1 Building on campus.
This is video of the hallway where the incident happened.
A witness tells Action News that an older male graduate student entered the office of professor Richard Antoun and then stabbed him.
The witness also says she saw campus police tackle the assailant to the ground, then emergency service workers rushed to Antoun’s side to treat him.
“We waited, he came out of the office after about ten minutes, they were doing chest compressions, it didn’t really look good. It was an anthropology grad student who was doing middle eastern studies I believe,” said BU Senior Devin Sheppard.
Campus officials say the suspect in custody, but have yet to release his name.
Antoun, who had lived on Vestal’s Murray Hill Road for a number of years, is a published author who has written several books. He published the book Understanding Fundamentalism: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Movements
A BU biography of Antoun shows that he received a doctorate from Harvard University in Massachusetts in 1963. The bio describes Antoun as an emeritus professor who is a, “sociocultural anthropologist who has conducted research among peasants in Jordan, urbanites in Lebanon, peasant-farmers in Iran, and migrants in Texas and Greece.
His scholarly interests center on comparative religion and symbolic systems, the social organization of tradition in Islamic law and ethics, the sociology of dispute with respect to tribal law in the Middle East, local-level politics, and the impact of transnational migration on education, work, and cultural change.”
The attack comes nearly eight months to the day 13 people were massacred by a single gunman at the American Civic Association in Binghamton. It also extended BU’s string of misfortune. In the past year and a half, the university has endured the near-death beating of one of its students and the flight to Serbia of one of the alleged assailants — former BU basketball player Miladin Kovacevic; a sexual harassment suit brought by one of its employees; the legal and off-the-court troubles that dismantled the basketball team; and an ongoing SUNY investigation. Unanswered questions continue to swirl around all of those events.
Professor Antoun’s Author Page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Richard-T.-Ant…/ref=sr_tc_2_0
Update 2: (Note: Warner has updated his original information on Antoun, see update below)
Private investigator Bill Warner has posted information that Antoun was a Jewish convert through his wife, and also had a Muslim grandfather. Warner also provides links to a trail of web comments left by Al-Zahrani using his Binghampton University email address:
Prof. Richard T. Antoun was a Jewish convert, through his wife in Binghamton NY, in the Reform tradition, see preface from his book, click here. Prof. Richard T. Antoun had a Muslim grand-father and a Catholic grand-mother on different sides of his family, his parents were married in a civil ceramony in Brazil and then in a Methodist Church when they came to the USA, he has had varied links to many religions including the Quaker and the Catholic Church but appears to have settled on Judism in Binghamton NY.
If that email is correct, Al-Zahrani also commented on the following articles: Advisory opinion is permissible Misyaar: legalization of zina .. أم مراعاة لظروف الشباب ؟ Or taking into account the circumstances of young people? and How to view Akkad Civilities hidden?
Dinah Lord reports the suspect is an exchange student from Egypt.
Update 3: From wbng.com:
The Broome DA says Al-Zahrani is a Saudi national who is a graduate student in the Anthropology department at Binghamton University.
Al-Zahrani and Professor Antoun knew each other through work in the graduate program.
The DA says there is no indication of religious or ethnic motivation.
Does he mean no indication yet or does he know the motive and not sharing it? Or is he just covering his ass and being politically idiotic?
Update 4: Antoun’s widow speaks.
Rosalyn, a 63-year-old employee of the Jewish Federation, said she prefers to go by Roz. Rich, too, preferred a nickname: Dick. They were married 17 years and spent all of them on Murray Hill Road, which runs adjacent to campus.”It’s terrible and the most terrible thing is that this is happening more and more,” she said. “It’s happening like every other day. We’re seeing it all over the place.”
To continue his thesis, Al-Zahrani wanted to study Middle Eastern culture outside of Binghamton, but he had not been able to secure funding, according to director of anthropology graduate studies Andrew Merriweather.
Antoun, a 77-year-old professor emeritus, was connected to Al-Zahrani as a member of the three-person panel that would ultimately evaluate Al-Zahrani’s dissertation.
As a professor emeritus, Antoun continued to conduct research and held an office on campus. He did not teach many classes, nor could he be the chair of Al-Zahrani’s dissertation committee, because of his emeritus status.
Three days prior to Antoun’s death, one of Al-Zahrani’s apartment-mates told Price, and later a university psychologist, that Al-Zahrani had threatened him and was acting irrationally.
Update 6: Antoun did not have a Muslim grandfather nor did he convert to Judaism as reported by Bill Warner; an update from Bill Warner:
Prof. Prof. Richard T. Antoun is not Jewish, his wife is, he never was a convert to Judaism, his funeral is this Friday December 11 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Binghamton NY, see below.
Prof. Prof. Richard T. Antoun parents (mother’s side) are Christian Arabs with their roots in Lebanon, there are no Muslims here, as per Rev. David J. Miller his brother in law.
The correction is that there are no Muslims in the immediate family. The Antouns (father’s side) and the Haddad’s born in Lebanon.)
Latest in new posts here:
Binghamton Univ officials knew killer was a threat (also, read Al-Zahrani’s thesis)
OTBR to Binghampton: More on the Serb who is being harbored in Serbia, mentioned above: