Azhar Hussain(56) was booked on Friday at Vigo County Jail in Indiana to face charges of felony obstruction of justice and a misdemeanor charge of harassment. He will appear in Vigo County Superior Court on Monday. A bond was set at  $10,000. Hussain is an assistant professor of aviation technology at Indiana State University.
 
The charges against the Muslim professor related to emails that contained anti-Muslim messages coupled with threats of violence against Muslims, according to a statement by the university based at Terre Haute. Messages specifically mentioning Hussain as a target first came to light on March 8.
 
Then, on March 24, Hussain reported that he had been attacked from behind while entering his office during the early hours of that morning. He told police that he was assaulted and thrown to the floor. However, he claimed that he had not actually seen the attacker and that no words were spoken.
 
Campus police determined that at least four persons who were in the vicinity were unable to validate Hussain’s story, saying that they had seen no suspicious behavior nearby.
 
On Friday, ISU released a statement on Friday to the effect that Hussain was to be released by the institution. Provost Mike Licari stated that Hussain would not be reappointed to his position beyond the 2017-18 academic year because Hussain had not fulfilled his contractual obligations. Licari indicated dismissal proceedings against Hussain would be started in accordance with university policy. Arrangements are being made to cover his remaining classes and administer final exams.
 
According to ISU Chief of Police Joseph Newport, “Based upon the investigation, it is our belief that Hussain was trying to gain sympathy by becoming a victim of anti-Muslim threats, which he had created himself.” Newport added, “It is extremely unfortunate that this situation caused undue concern on other members of the ISU community.” Campus crime alerts had been transmitted following the first emailed threat and then the alleged assault.
 
Assisting ISU’s investigation was the Cybercrime and Investigative Technologies Section of the Indiana State Police, as well as the local FBI office and the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office. The computers from which the emails originated were tracked down, and investigators found evidence that it was Hussain himself who was sending the emails, according to a university news release.
 
Hussain claims to hold an MBA in aviation management from Embry-Riddle University and a bachelor's in aviation from the Florida Institute of Technology. He also claims to have taught at Everglades University, to have held jobs at Gateway Airport and Broward County, Florida.

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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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