Back in December 2009, a pious Muslim student fatally stabbed a Binghamton University professor of Middle Eastern studies who authored “Understanding Fundamentalism: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Movements” and other books on Islam over the last 20 years, particularly related to Jordan.
The jihadi has not been tried or convicted. Instead, the court has postponed the trial of this murderer for the second time. This is sharia, spinning the "mental illness" defense.
Trial postponed for a second time.
The Broome County District Attorney’s Office says the court has postponed the murder trial for Abdusalam al-Zahrani, 45, from Saudi Arabia.
An examination by two Broome County psychologists this week determined he is incompetent to stand trial. [...]
The DA’s office says doctors concluded Al-Zahrani lacks the capacity to understand the proceedings against him or assist in his own defense.
An order of examination has been issued, and he will be committed to a state mental health facility.
He could be tried if and when he is found to be competent again. [backup link]
Trial location: Broome County Court in Binghamton, NY
First, here’s a quick summary:
77 years old at time of death.
Professor emeritus of anthropology at Binghamton University.
Was stabbed at least 4 times by the six-inch blade of a kitchen knife in his Binghamton University office in the Science I building at approximately 1:41pm.
Died after being taken to Wilson Regional Medical Center in Johnson City, NY on December 4th, 2009.
“a sociocultural anthropologist who has conducted research among peasants in Jordan, urbanites in Lebanon, peasant-farmers in Iran, and migrants in Texas and Greece”
“He taught at the University of Chicago, Manchester University in England and Cairo University”
“Mr. Antoun had written six books focusing on the Middle East, and spent much of his long career educating people about the region and its people. His 2001 book, “Understanding Fundamentalism: Christian, Muslim and Jewish Movements,” was particularly timely, coming out just before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He retired from teaching at Binghamton University in 1999, but remained active on campus and within the anthropology department.”
Attended the Binghamton Unitarian Universalist church and was involved in a local Progressive group called “Broome County Peace Action”.
Wife is an employee of the local Jewish Federation.
“Antoun’s scholarly interests centered on comparative religion and symbolic systems, as well as the social organization of tradition in Islamic law and ethics. Colleague Michael Little, distinguished professor of anthropology, said Antoun was ‘very sensitive to Islamic culture.’ “
“Antoun earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Williams College, his master’s in international relations from Johns Hopkins University and his PhD in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies from Harvard. A Fulbright Scholar in Eqypt early in his career, he conducted field work in Jordan, Lebanon and Iran among other locations.”
Antoun was seemingly beloved by everyone. Often called kind and peaceful.
46 years old at the time of stabbing.
Islamic Saudi national.
Charged with second degree murder for the stabbing of Richard Antoun.
Pleaded not guilty and did not request bail.
Binghamton University graduate student in Cultural Anthropology.
Was working on a doctoral thesis entitled “Sacred Voice, Profane Sight: The Senses, Cosmology, and Epistemology in Early Arabic Culture”.
Is having his lawyer and other legal fees paid for by the Saudi consulate.
Was having financial difficulties and was denied funding to continue his thesis. He wanted to study in Detroit.
Wanted to transfer out of the anthropology department and into the PIC program. [Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture]
“Police say that al-Zahrani was still in the building when they arrived. Witnesses told reporters that when police officers asked al-Zahrani about Antoun, he said, ‘Yeah, I just stabbed him.’ “
Al-Zahrani’s brother speaking: “he said his brother is a liberal but was disappointed with the perceived weaknesses of Muslims and Arabs. “My brother was keen to learn about human sciences, his ultimate goal was education. He did not get married but devoted his time to education,” said Abdul Rahman, adding that his brother had graduated from King Abdul Aziz University after studying accounting before being employed by Samba Bank and Savola Group. He then went to the US on different occasions to study his master’s and Ph.D…”
[be sure to check out the emails that he sent at the bottom of this page which are disparaging against Israelis]
The defense will attempt to show that Al-Zahrani was suffering from mental illness.
Souleymane “Jules” Sakho and Luis Pena:
Roommates of Al-Zahrani for three weeks in a three bedroom apartment in downtown Binghamton.
Souleyman is a Senegalese doctoral student Fulbright scholar studying the abolition of capital punishment and is enrolled in the PIC program (Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture).
Souleymane is a Christian convert from Islam and Luis Pena is also Christian. They both claim that Al-Zahrani put them down for their religious beliefs. Pena says that Al-Zahrani laughed at him for wearing a religious symbol around his neck.
Claim that Al-Zahrani “…was acting oddly, like a terrorist”, often mentioned death, Al-Zahrani said he was being persecuted because he was Muslim and would often ask Sakho if he was afraid of death.
Pena claims that Al-Zahrani exclaimed “I just feel like destroying the world” and would make weird remarks.
Sakho says that Al-Zahrani drew a knife on him during their first week as roommates and that Al-Zahrani would scream on the phone in Arabic.
Sakho says that Al-Zahrani confronted him about his change of religion but Sakho refused to discuss it with him.
Sakho: “He was all the time shouting in Arabic, shouting threats, insulting this country for no reason”
Pena: “He told me there were students, who were spies for the government of Jordan that were harassing him”
Joshua Price and Bill Haver:
Director of PIC (Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture) and PIC Director of Graduate Studies. Al-Zahrani wanted to transfer to the PIC program from anthropology and met with Price about it a few times including less than thirty minutes before the stabbing incident. Price also met with Souleymane Sakho three days before the incident where Sakho told him about Al-Zahrani threatening him. Price wanted to help Sakho but thought that professionals should do so instead. Price arranged for Sakho to meet with psychologist Donald Glauber.
Binghamton University staff psychologist at the University Counseling Center.
“At 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sakho said he met with staff psychologist Donald Glauber. “I explained to him the story, (Glauber) told me that I have to avoid the guy because the guy is a bit old and he’s alone, he may have some psychological problems and he has some anxieties,” Sakho said. In a subsequent e-mail, Sakho stated Glauber told him there was nothing to worry about because Al-Zahrani had promised to move out in January and the police and landlord were already informed.”
Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen: [website]
“Attorney Gerald Mollen stated that there is no indication that the murder of Professor Antoun is a hate crime.”
“A motive for the crime still has not been released, although a press release from Mollen dismissed the idea of an ethnic or religious motivation.”
Frederica L. Miller: [website]
New York City lawyer retained by the Saudi consulate to represent Al-Zahrani.
“a 1986 graduate of Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C. She specializes in criminal defense, white collar crime and family law. A former assistant district attorney for Kings County and member of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office in New York City, Miller went into private practice in 1998. She is a member of the New York City and New York state bar associations.”
Al-Zahrani’s other attorney. Binghamton-based.
Steven Simring and Charles Patrick Ewing:
Medical experts for the defense.
32 year old graduate student who shared classes with Al-Zahrani.
Took the witness stand in pre-trial examinations because he would be out of state during the trial.
Claims Al-Zahrani was friendly and non-violent.
“He did however, remember an instance when he thought al-Zahrani acted strangely. It was September 2009, three months before Professor Antoun’s death, al-Zahrani was supposed to be in Michigan on a field study. Instead, he was at the university. When Roby approached al-Zahrani, he says there was a coldness to him. “Yes, I’m back” was his only response, and he turned away.”
“al-Zahrani seemed distracted, less friendly, cold and withdrawn.”