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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A former San Francisco State University student is being investigated by anti-terrorism officials and the FBI after he allegedly wrote online posts that included serious threats of violence.
Mohammad Hammad’s controversial comments and pictures posted on social media site Tumblr in the last few months. One reads, “I think about killing a lot/and some of you are usually the targets of my daydreams.”
Another had a caption underneath a photo of long sword: “Imagine me cutting off the heads of those in the Israeli Defense Forces with this.”
“It was very alarming. It was very threatening,” said Tammi Rossman-Benjamin of a group known as the AMCHA Initiative, which combats college campus anti-Semitism. They tracked Hammad’s postings and sent them to SF State administrators.
We were very concerned for the safety of students at SF State, and we were especially concerned for the safety of Jewish students,” said Rossman-Benjamin.
On Thursday, the school confirmed Hammad is no longer a student, but they won’t say why. Hammad was president of the General Union of Palestinian Students. One student in the group refused to do an interview…fearful for her safety and possible retaliation.
Another student group came to Hammad’s defense. They argued he was passionate opposing colonialism, and not Jews.
“It was just a whole misunderstanding with it as the person was trying to put words in his mouth and say they are anti-Semitic, when in fact they are anti-colonialism and are trying to defend their homeland,” said Eleazar Malabanan of the group Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor.
Malabanan worked right next store to Hammad, and said he never felt threatened.
“They are definitely not threatening. They are just using their free speech and saying what they really feel,” he said.
However, the AMCHA hopes this leads to new campus behavior standards for registered student groups.
“I’m a big supporter of free speech, but the safety of students on campus comes first,” countered Rossman-Benjamin.