A community college professor in Texas frightened several of his students when he walked into class Tuesday night with his face covered and incoherently mumbled about the Koran, the moon and the dark night.
Students attending a lecture at Tarrant County College called the police after adjunct professor Daniel Mashburn walked into his astronomy class and started acting out of character.
Students told FOX4 that Mashburn walked in about 20 minutes late and promptly turned off the lights. He was wearing a baseball hat, a beanie, a scarf over his face and gloves.
“The kid next to me had said he was acting very strange, and I looked over at the girl next to me and she seemed very scared,” student April McLeod said.
The students said Mashburn then started talking about the Muslim holy book the Koran and the moon and the dark night.
“Mostly he was talking about different things of the Muslim faith,” McLeod said. “I was in class for about five minutes. He kept messing with his pocket and you could tell there was an object in the right-hand pocket. And whenever he went to pull out his hand, I started having this really bad feeling and jumped up and ran out of the classroom.”
She added: "At one point he stood face-to-face with the board of the classroom and was just talking to the board.”
Eventually campus police arrived and searched Mashburn, who didn’t take off the scarf or baseball hat. Police found no harmful or illegal objects on the professor.
McLeod filmed police searching Mashburn outside the classroom. He was not arrested.
When reached by FOX4 News, Mashburn seemed to deflect many questions and said several times his teaching of astronomy goes hand-in-hand with Islam.
“I keep it secret. I keep it safe. I do my best, but I am tired of hiding in the shadows,” he said when asked if he explained his teaching philosophy when he interviewed for the position. “I am tired of fearing their law. I fear Allah.”
When asked specifically about the incident Tuesday night, Mashburn said he didn’t understand why they feared him.
“Why are they afraid? I’m a man who covers his face in his hand,” he said. “I offer you nothing but the Koran, a book and the universe. The universe is in my hand right here. You can look at it.”
College officials said they are investigating the incident. In the meantime, Mashburn said he was suspended indefinitely.