AND AGAIN - AT 10:24 A.M. ET: It seems we're getting incidents like this every few months:
An upstate graduate student was charged yesterday with stabbing a beloved anthropology professor to death.
Saudi national Abdulsalam Al-Zahrani, 46, was held without bail for the murder of Binghamton University professor Richard Antoun, 77, an expert on comparative religion, authorities said.
Al-Zahrani, a cultural-anthropology grad student, allegedly pulled out a six-inch kitchen knife and stabbed Antoun four times in the chest in the professor's campus office Friday.
Student Devin Sheppard said the suspect was at the scene when cops arrived.
COMMENT: Obviously, we make no prejudgments. But once again an individual with a specific background commits a murder. It may be entirely a personal matter, but law enforcement has an obligation to the public to ask questions about motivation and background...and so does the often blind, often politically correct press.
The victim was reportedly Jewish, but we cannot yet confirm that. There is a report, again unconfirmed, that he was a convert from Islam. We know that his wife works for a Jewish organization.
UPDATE AT 10:36 A.M. ET: More is coming in on the Binghamton slaying, this from the local press:
The two apartment-mates of the man charged with stabbing a Binghamton University professor to death on Friday said Abdulsalam Al-Zahrani was confrontational, argumentative and "acted like a terrorist."
Souleyman Sukho, a Senegalese doctoral student at BU, said during the three weeks the men lived together, Al-Zahrani "came at me with a knife."
"He asked me if I was afraid of dying," Sukho said. "Then he went into his room. I told him, 'don't ask me the question if you don't want to hear my answer.'
"He behaved like a terrorist," Sukho said. "He would open his door and would be screaming on the phone."
Sukho said he didn't understand what Al-Zahrani was screaming about because he was speaking in a language Sukho didn't understand. "He claimed he was persecuted."
When have we heard that before? Does the name "Major Hasan" ring a bell?
This is early information, and we stress the importance of confirmation. But based on a number of points, this doesn't look good. It also looks ripe for the usual cover-up, especially since a university is involved, and universities are great at covering things up.
December 6, 2009