A war of words has sparked fear for the safety of a young Muslim born in America and educated in Tucson.
University of Arizona officials are taking precautions after the man, who teaches a class at the UA, penned an opinion piece claiming U.S. troops are rife with "white supremacists, neo-Nazi and other hate groups" and that America is a bigger threat to world peace than terrorists who carry out public beheadings.
The UA has received more than 70 complaints from as far away as Saudi Arabia calling for the firing of alumnus Musa al-Gharbi, whose musings on a left-wing website have touched off a fury among military supporters.
Critics say he crossed the line between free speech and hate speech in the article headlined: "How much moral high ground does the US have over ISIS?"
"This man is a danger to our country. Get rid of him before there is a bloodbath on campus!" one complainant wrote to UA President Ann Weaver Hart.
"You and your staff owe the military men and women of this country an apology for your betrayal of their honor," another complainant, the mother of a soldier, told Hart.
The column, on the Truth-out.org website, caused a backlash after Fox News reported on it and the story was picked up by talk radio shows and websites that cater to troops.
The column initially mentioned at the end that al-Gharbi works for the UA. That detail later was deleted at his request after the school started getting complaints.
Some critics are urging military veterans not to enroll at the UA as long as al-Gharbi is on the payroll. Others have made veiled threats in anonymous online forums, suggesting he's a traitorous terrorist who deserves to die.
"Sure would like to take this guy hunting," said one commenter on the Military.com website.
"Blow his (expletive) away," another said.
UA officials say al-Gharbi, an interim instructor who teaches one course, a government class, will not face discipline because he has a right to his opinion.
"He has angered a lot of people, but he is protected by the First Amendment," university spokesman Chris Sigurdson said.
Sigurdson asked the Arizona Daily Star not to identify precisely where al-Gharbi works on campus to deter anyone who might want to harm him. The Star agreed not to publish that information.
Al-Gharbi, who earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from UA in 2012 and a master's in philosophy last year, says his arguments were misinterpreted and taken out of context.
His column rehashed a number of documented cases of military misconduct, such as the Abu Ghraib scandal, rapes committed by troops and cases in which soldiers desecrated enemy corpses.
He said he was trying to make the point that military action is unlikely to solve the global problem of terrorism and often makes things worse.
"I have no sympathy for terrorists or terrorism," he told the Star in an email interview Friday. "But if we truly want to understand the problems of radicalization, extremism and terrorism, we have to get beyond reactionary tropes.
"We have to understand and engage with the narratives, motivations, grievances and intentions of those inclined towards extremism in order to find nuanced and enduring resolutions to these sociological conflicts."
Al-Gharbi writes for a number of websites, including one in which he speaks out against violence in Islam and urges peaceful social change and cooperation between people of different faiths.
While many critics assumed he's a foreigner, he actually is U.S.-born and grew up in a military family, though he doesn't want to say where for fear it might help someone hunt him down to hurt him.
"I am no extremist," he said. "But unfortunately Muslims who are critical of U.S. policy are typically labeled 'extremists' regardless of what they actually espouse."
Sigurdson, the UA spokesman, said al-Gharbi's current teaching stint ends next month when fall semester wraps up.
"At this point he is not signed up to teach another class," Sigurdson said, but added that it's not because of the controversy.
In a response letter being sent to those who complained, Sigurdson notes that al-Gharbi's opinion writing was done on his own time and was not "any part of his employment."
"The ideas expressed in Mr. al-Gharbi's opinion piece have offended and distressed many in the University of Arizona community and beyond," the letter says.
"However, we also acknowledge his First Amendment right that allows him to publish his thoughts as a private citizen."