Why is it not a not a big surprise that a history professor living off of taxpayer funds may have cheered on America’s Islamist enemies—and is the target of an FBI investigation into whether he is linked with ISIS?
Julio César Pino, a Cuban-born convert to Islam, is apparently well known at Kent State University for fiery anti-Israel rhetoric. Since-deleted social media posts attributed to him have praised Usama bin Laden and urged Al Qaeda fighters to merge with ISIS, of which he also allegedly approves.
Pino shouted “Death to Israel” during a presentation by a former Israeli official, eulogized a Palestinian suicide bomber, and allegedly claimed to be one of two masked Islamist fighters in a picture posted online. One report says Pino told a Jewish student he would “burn in hell” for his religion.
A spokesman for Kent State told the public that the FBI believes there is no threat to the school. Pino himself assured a reporter: “I support no violence or violent organizations.” The professor, who graduated magna cum laude from UCLA, added an infantile “haters gonna hate” in his defense.
Actually the threat is very real. Whether we like it or not, and whether we recognize it or not, the USA is at war with radical Islam—including all of the groups Pino holds in high esteem. The tip of the Islamist spear is pointed at the free world on the battlefield, which in recent weeks has extended from Syria into a concert hall in Paris, a holiday party in San Bernardino, and a Starbucks in Istanbul.
However, the rest of the Islamist spear relies on political and cultural subversion instead of bombs. Recently this has included a rape rampage in Cologne on New Year’s Eve and the efforts of groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which uses political correctness to discredit opponents of Islamism and violent jihad. Pino is a part of this cultural front.
Whether or not the FBI finds evidence sufficient to charge Pino with a crime is a secondary issue. The real question is why men like him are allowed to teach American students. How could anyone possibly think he is qualified to teach history?
Last week, at a forum hosted by the Hamilton Foundation, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich observed that those who still believe in America must contend with “an entire academic left which is so anti-Western.. that they can’t really imagine there is a threat to us that we haven’t earned.”
Why must we tolerate this? Why do taxpayer funds support political activists posing as teachers? Why do middle class Americans donate each year to universities with legions of administrators and professors who hate their values? Why are those universities allowed to shelter endowments worth hundreds of billions from the taxes, even as they indebt students for life in exchange for decreasingly valuable degrees?
If we ever want to turn the tide on radical Islam and end the perpetual cycle of war and terrorism, we have to get our own house in order first, and then take on the ideology of radical Islam globally.
People who think like Pino should be purged from universities. Liberals will moan about academic freedom, but it is blatantly obvious to any conservative who has set foot on a campus in recent decades that there is no academic freedom. Diversity to college administrators means a Benetton ad—an obsession with race and ethnicity—not true diversity of thought.
Governors and state legislatures have got to step in to eliminate tenure and demand that taxpayer-funded colleges reflect the values of taxpayers. It would be better to have liberals moaning in the future about the supposed loss of academic freedom than to blind ourselves today to the Islamists’ war on us.
Christian Whiton is the president of the Hamilton Foundation. He was a State Department senior advisor in the George W. Bush administration and a policy advisor on the Giuliani and Gingrich presidential campaigns. He is author of "Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War" (Potomac Books 2013).