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Kent State president reacts to investigation into professor’s ISIS ties

KENT, Ohio-- A Kent State professor is being investigated for ties to ISIS and the school's president is reacting.

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have been investigating associate history professor Julio Pino for more than a year.

Emily Mills, the editor of the student-run Daily Kent Stater, said she was contacted by federal authorities regarding Pino and was given permission to publish that information. Mills has been writing about the controversial professor for years.

Pino, a Cuban-born American citizen, said he was raised as a Christian, but left his faith as a teenager and in 2000 converted to the Muslim faith. Since 2002, he has made headlines declaring his sympathetic views for Palestinians in their fight against Israel.

In 2007, Pino was accused of writing for an Islamic extremist website and years before, he praised a suicide bomber in an editorial. More recently, Pino shouted "death to Israel" during a diplomat's lecture, Mills said. A post on his Facebook page also caused controversy.

"There was dancing in the streets in the United States, chants of U.S.A. ! USA! USA! This fascist mentality is reminiscent of Hitler Nazi Germany.  Americans claim that the death of Osama bin Laden was a victory in the fight against the problem of international terrorism.  There is no problem of international terrorism, There is the problem of the United States," he wrote in 2011.

On Tuesday, federal investigators were on campus interviewing other professors and students to learn how some of his views may have influenced others.

Pino rejected requests for interviews on Wednesday, but spoke to the student newspaper.

“From a legal standpoint, I’m not aware that they’re going after me or charging me with anything,” Pino told KentWired.com. “I’m not aware of any kind of criminal investigation or charges or anything of that sort.”

Kent State University President Beverly Warren released the following statement on Wednesday:

"Many of you have heard unsettling news overnight that the FBI has been on our Kent Campus investigating a serious matter. We are cooperating with the FBI, and we have been assured that there is no indication of a threat to campus. As this is an ongoing investigation, it is not prudent to speak further about the case.

"We continue to find Julio Pino's comments reprehensible and counter to our core values of civil discourse and respect. As a university, we do not defend his views, and he does not speak on behalf of Kent State or members of our community.

"Campus safety continues to be our top priority at Kent State, and we remain committed to providing a safe learning environment for our community."

The FBI confirmed the investigation and the university.

Continuing coverage on Julio Pino here

Kent State University