Individuals and groups

Individuals and groups whose story doesn't fit into any other category.

UF suspends professor after FBI searches his office

Dr. Samim Anghaie Professor and Director of the Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute (INSPI)

A University of Florida nuclear engineering professor and his family members had their property seized Wednesday in an investigation into allegations they used money from NASA contracts to buy multiple cars and homes.

Samim Anghaie is a Iranian-born professor who directs an institute that researches the use of nuclear power in space. He and his wife, Sousan, run a Gainesville-based company, New Era Technology, that conducts research for NASA. As of Wednesday, neither Anghaie nor his wife had been arrested, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tallahassee said.

UF suspended Samim Anghaie after the FBI searched his campus office Wednesday. A warrant alleges money from NASA was diverted from New Era into the accounts of Samim, Sousan and their sons, Ali and Hamid.

The alleged scheme "diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars of illegally obtained government funds from their corporate bank account to their personal bank accounts," according to the warrant.

{josquote}As members of the Baha'i faith, Samim and Sousan Anghaie applied for asylum in the U.S. on the basis of Iran's persecution of members of the religion, according to immigration documents.{/josquote}

Since December 1999, New Era was awarded 13 government contracts with NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Department of Energy. The agencies deposited nearly $3.4 million into the company's account, according to the warrant.

The money was allegedly used to buy six vehicles ranging from a 2005 Toyota Sienna to 2009 Subaru and homes in Gainesville, Connecticut, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa. Some money was used to buy stocks and the proceeds to buy land in Alachua County, the warrant alleges.

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FBI raids University of Florida nuclear power institute
FBI raids Univ. of Florida nuclear power institute

Denis MacEoin Appointed Middle East Quarterly Editor

Denis McEoin

PHILADELPHIA — The Middle East Forum is pleased to announce that Denis MacEoin—an Irish specialist of Islam and Iran, and widely published novelist—will take over as editor of the Middle East Quarterly, its flagship publication, starting with the Fall 2009 issue.

The Times of London has called the MEQ, founded in 1994, an "invaluable source of information on the Middle East." Bernard Lewis, the doyen of Middle Eastern specialists, terms it, "Lively and stimulating … interesting and important."

Mr. MacEoin graduated with an M.A. in English language and literature from Trinity College, Dublin, followed by a second degree in Persian, Arabic, and Islamic History from Edinburgh University and a Ph.D. in Persian/Islamic Studies from King's College, Cambridge. In 1986, he became honorary fellow in the Centre for Islamic and Middle East Studies at Durham University.

Mr. MacEoin carried out manuscript-based research in Iran in 1976. In 1979-80, he taught at the Mohammed V University in Fez, Morocco. Following that, he took up a post as lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University.

From 2005 to 2008, Mr. MacEoin was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University where he now teaches a short course in creative writing. He is a member of the advisory council of the Centre for Social Cohesion, an offshoot of the Civitas think tank. He writes a blog, A Liberal Defence of Israel.

{josquote}A recurring theme [in his novels] is the negative effect of irrational ideas and movements on democratic societies. {/josquote}

He has published extensively on Islamic topics. His books include The Sources for Babi Doctrine and History (Brill, 1992), Rituals in Babism and Baha'ism (I.B. Tauris, 1994), and The Messiah of Shiraz: Studies in Early and Middle Babism (Brill, 2008); he also co-edited Islam in the Modern World (Wadsworth, 1983). A collection of his journalism was published under the pen-name Daniel Easterman, New Jerusalems: Reflections on Islam, Religious Fundamentalism, and the Rushdie Affair (Grafton/HarperCollins, 1993).

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Rainy Days and Mondays

Well, readers, it's been less than a week. LOL. So here's how my crazy week went. So Tuesday after work I ended up going with Kristin to the Baha'i Center. The direct teachers went out to dinner so Ana and I went with Kristin. The meeting she went to started right after it so we all went. We met Counselor Mora who is one of the higher-ups so to speak in the Baha'i Faith. Kristin had to explain it all to me last week while he was here because I was just so confused by Baha'i administration. There's the Universal House of Justice which is the head of the faith. There are 9 people who serve. Then there's the counselors who, for the most part, come from the International Teaching Center. Counselor Mora is one of them. Then it keeps going through the Auxiliary Board, Regional Councils, national and local assemblies, etc. It's hard to keep it all straight sometimes.

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It's confession time: Who are your "prior associations"?

One thing I learned about this last presidential election – if you’re ever planning to run for office, you’ve got to be careful who you run around with.

Both candidates got into trouble, I guess, for what we’d call prior associations. That’s a nice way of saying they weren’t careful about who their friends were or, even worse, who their friends’ friends were.

I guess it gets complicated when your opponent is trying to dig up dirt about you.

I really thought I’d lived a pretty dull life – and would be a pretty good candidate – until I got to thinking about my prior associations.

Like the first college professor I ever met.

Now, you have to remember that I grew up in a town of 6,900. The next town was about 20 miles north and boasted almost 300 residents. There were 25 of us in my graduating class. I went to the same private, Catholic school for 13 years – kindergarten through 12th grade.

So you can imagine my shock when I walked into my first class at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln – not exactly the hotbed of radicalism.

There was my English teacher, Professor Wiggins (I can’t believe that I still remember his name) sitting cross-legged on top of his desk. He wasn’t wearing a tie and he didn’t start our class off with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

I guess I wasn’t at Saint Agnes Academy anymore!

Instead, Professor Wiggins wanted to talk about waging war – not the Vietnam War, mind you, but the war being waged against people of the Baha’i faith in Iran. Professor Wiggins, you see, was a Baha’i and was such a creative teacher that every book we studied he somehow was able to relate to the struggles of the Baha’i faith.

{josquote} we all ended up attending a couple of social gatherings at the Professor’s house{/josquote}

I’d never heard of Baha’i. I didn’t even know how to spell it but I certainly heard about it three times a week for the next 16 weeks!

And I was determined to get a good grade – like the other 40 people in my class – so we all ended up attending a couple of social gatherings at the Professor’s house.

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Khalil Greene

I have another baseball player I really like. Khalil Greene was the shortstop for the Padres for the last five years, before being traded to St. Louis this week. He was fabulous as a rookie in 2003, but has slowly declined ever since. Last year, he hit .213/.260/.339 before breaking his hand in August punching the clubhouse wall in frustration over his performance. I have a lot more sympathy for guys who do something like that than a lot of people do, because I understand it. I'm lucky I've never seriously hurt myself doing exactly the same thing. I have put holes in the walls of my apartments.

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