A Muslim anthropology graduate student is being charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of a Jewish professor at Binghamton University in Vestal, New York.
The victim is Richard Antoun, 77, professor of Middle Eastern studies and the author of "Understanding Fundamentalism: Christian, Islamic and Jewish Movements."
The man in custody is Abdulsalam Al-Zahrani, 46-year-old Saudi national.
The attack took place Friday afternoon when the student entered the professor's office and stabbed him, according to an eyewitness. Campus police tackled the assailant to the ground, while emergency service workers rushed to Antoun's side.
University President Lois DeFleur issued the following statement Friday: "This afternoon, in an act of senseless violence, the Binghamton University community lost one of its long-time faculty members. ... Our hearts go out to the Antoun family and we will provide them with as much assistance as we can in this time of sorrow."
New York Gov. David Paterson also released a statement about the victim: "He touched the lives of many students and was respected by his colleagues. Though he will be missed on campus, he will live on in his writing, his research and his students, whose lives he forever changed."
Antoun received a doctorate from Harvard in 1963 and joined the Binghamton faculty in the early 1970s. He was "a sociocultural anthropologist who has conducted research among peasants in Jordan, urbanites in Lebanon, peasant farmers in Iran and migrants in Texas and Greece," according to the univerrsity's website. He retired in 1999 as professor emeritus.
"He dedicated his life to trying to understand the people of the Middle East," the professor's sister Linda Miller, of Holden, Mass., told the New York Times. "He never said an unkind word to anyone in his life. "Miller's husband, the Rev. David J. Miller, said that Antoun had been married to his wife, Rosalyn, for 17 years and had a son, Nicholas, 40.