State lawmakers expressed shock and concern yesterday regarding a Lincoln University professor who has called for the defeat of Israel and who, the lawmakers say, has questioned the Holocaust.
Kaukab Siddique, an associate professor of English and literature, was seen in a video recorded on Labor Day weekend in Washington and broadcast on CBN News, the Christian Broadcasting Network, saying: "We must stand united to defeat, to destroy, to dismantle Israel - if possible by peaceful means.
"For the Jews, I would say, 'See what could happen to you if the Muslims wake up.' And I say to the Muslims, 'Dear brothers and sisters, unite and rise up against this hydra-headed monster which calls itself Zionism.' "
CBN News also said it found an e-mail from Siddique in which he called the Holocaust "a hoax."
Words like these and writings of Siddique's have alarmed state Sens. Daylin Leach and Anthony H. Williams, who yesterday sent a letter to Lincoln President Ivory Nelson, asking if the partially state-funded university was aware of Siddique's views when he was hired and awarded tenure.
In the letter, Leach, a Democrat who represents parts of Montgomery and Delaware counties, and Williams, a Democrat who represents parts of Philadelphia and Delaware County, also ask if Siddique's "anti-Semitic diatribes" are part of his classroom teachings.
And they cite examples of Siddique's writings, contending that he denies the Holocaust and has called Jewish people offensive names.
Siddique, who is originally from Pakistan and is Muslim, is an outspoken critic of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.
But colleagues at Lincoln who know him but who did not want their names published stress that he is not a radical nor is he anti-Semitic.
Siddique does not espouse his views on Israel to students at the historically black college, in southern Chester County, one colleague said.
His off-campus comments have been taken out of context by right-wing groups, the colleague said.
Siddique yesterday responded to the Daily News by forwarding an e-mail he gave to CBN News. In it, he said, in part, that at the Labor Day weekend speech and in his other writings and talks, "when I refer critically to the 'Jews' I am referring to the current leadership of the 'state of Israel' and to their major supporters, not to the Jewish race as a whole.
"Most of my readers and listeners understand this; if it was taken to mean otherwise, then I offer my apologies to those I have offended.
"I am not anti-Semitic. . . . I am certainly not hostile to, nor do I discriminate against the Jewish people because of their lineage."
Nelson did not return a call left at his office yesterday by the Daily News.
Leach yesterday said that he found Siddique's remarks to be "blatant hate speech."
Williams called Siddique's comments "disheartening."
He has sponsored a Senate resolution condemning the resurgence of anti-Semitism on college and university campuses.