Bomb threatens Florida exams

April 19, 1996

Despite the arrest of the alleged Unabomber, who mail-bombed colleges and professors, universities in the United States are continuing to treat the threat of campus terrorism with extreme gravity.

The University of South Florida has brought forward final exams a week, after the campus newspaper received a letter threatening to kill a white female professor and blow up an administration building on April 29. The letter has gone to the FBI.

It demanded an apology to a former part-time professor,Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, who left Florida last spring and stunned ex-colleagues when he reemerged as the leader of the Middle East terrorist group Islamic Jihad.

The letter was signed by "The One, the Leader of the War Purgers", an unknown group, and made curious references to neo-Nazis as well as Mr Shallah. It demanded that the "biased racist liberal American press" and the university apologise to Mr Shallah for "violating his freedoms and rights". It warned: "Make the public aware of our plight or else chaos, destruction, terror, panic, confusion and fear will ensue on campus."

Mr Shallah moved to Tampa, Florida, in 1991 after earning a doctorate in economics from Durham University the year before. He taught for two terms in the international studies department.

But since taking the leadership of Islamic Jihad, which has claimed responsibility for terrorist bombings in Israel, he has denounced the US in Arabic-language newspapers as "the empire of the biggest evil".

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