The older brother of a Saudi accused of killing his professor in the US has denied his sibling is an extremist.
Abdul Salam Al-Zahrani was charged with murdering Binghamton University professor Richard Antoun. The university reportedly claimed the alleged killer had extremist tendencies, but brother Abdul Rahman disagrees.
Speaking to Al-Riyadh daily he said his brother is a liberal but was disappointed with the perceived weaknesses of Muslims and Arabs.
"My brother was keen to learn about human sciences, his ultimate goal was education. He did not get married but devoted his time to education," said Abdul Rahman, adding that his brother had graduated from King Abdulaziz University after studying accounting before being employed by Samba Bank and Savola Group. He then went to the US on different occasions to study his master's and Ph.D.
Abdul Rahman said they knew about the charge but still do not know the investigation details.
He added that he condemns any crime regardless of its circumstances, but hoped at the same time his brother gets a fair trial. A lawyer has been assigned by the Saudi consulate to follow up the case.
Al-Zahrani's cousin Ahmad said that they had known each other since childhood and that he had never witnessed any extremist behavior in him.
"He has devoted his life to education and he has a mind that can protect him from being involved in such a crime. All information indicating that Abdul Salam is extremist are lies."
A member of an Islamic society in Binghamton said that Antoun, who is originally Lebanese, was a close friend of the Muslim community and had supported them following the 9/11 attacks.
The victim's wife Rozaline told Fox News that the murderer had killed her husband for personal, not religious, reasons. She added the world had lost a great person and peacemaker. Antoun is to be buried in New York today.