It walks like a duck. It quacks like a duck. So what is it?

What do you think? Professor Richard T. Antoun, a 77-year-old emeritus professor of anthropology at Binghamton University, was a peace activist who preached the gospel of tolerance among religions.


Unfortunately, his message of tolerance and accommodation failed to make the appropriate impression on Abdulsalam S. Al-Zahrani, a 46-year-old Muslim graduate student at the University. On Friday, Al-Zahrani went to Professor Antoun’s office and stabbed him several times with a kitchen knife. Antoun was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to Gerald F. Mollen, the Broome County district attorney, there was “no indication of religious or ethnic motivation” in the killing.

I’m glad the DA told us this. Otherwise we might get the wrong idea. Professor Antoun, though raised as a Methodist, had recently become interested in Judaism through his wife.

Al-Zahrani, a citizen of Saudi Arabia, recently wrote an angry letter to the editor of a Middle Eastern newspaper explaining that “no failure equals the Israeli” and describing Israel as “the shame of humanity.”

So, what do you think, Watson? Here’s a query for the DA: what would count as “an indication” that a “religious or ethnic motivation” was involved in a murder? Just asking.


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