University of Arizona under fire for ignoring antisemitic threats that led to murder

Murad Dervish’s antisemitic threats, which included wishing “death to all Jews,” should have been a warning sign for the police.

By World Israel News Staff

The University of Arizona has come under fire for ignoring antisemitic threats and therefore failing to prevent the murder of a professor.

Mexner was shot and killed on October 5th while walking from his class to his office on the campus’s Harshbarger Building. The assassin, Murad Dervish, is his former student.

“Professor Thomas Meixner lost his life because antisemitism is not being taken seriously enough,” Michael Masters, the CEO of the Secure Community Network, wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday in the Arizona Republic.

According to Masters, Dervish’s antisemitic threats, which included wishing “death to all Jews,” should have been a warning sign for the campus police.

“Dervish should have never been allowed to have a gun, or allowed to enter a campus building. He should have been criminally charged with the threats he made,” Masters wrote, noting that he had been previously convicted of crimes and had spent time in prison.

But campus police did not pursue criminal charges, and neither did the Pima County Attorney’s Office.

“Too often reported violent antisemitic threats like these are dismissed as a byproduct of poor mental health and are not treated with necessary precautions,” Masters wrote. “More could and should have been done to prevent a senseless murder.”

Ironically, as Masters writes, Professor Meixner was Roman Catholic, not Jewish, but it didn’t matter because Dervish was convinced he was – and that was enough.

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Dervish also sent threatening text messages to other non-Jewish faculty, including Professor Eyad Atallah, who he called “a filthy k— lover.”

“As Arabs we’re supposed to stick together,” Dervish wrote.”

“I hope somebody blows your (expletive) brains out.”

As a result of the texts, Atallah feared for his own life and purchased a bulletproof vest, installed an alarm system at his home and spent less time on campus, Masters wrote.

Last week, Masters’ group, which coordinates security for Jewish institutions across the U.S., alerted authorities in New York City to a post on social media by someone who vowing to “shoot up a synagogue.” The alert resulted in police apprehending the man, who had a gun, ammunition and a Nazi armband.

Dervish has pleaded not guilty.