India: Al-Qaeda poet on degree syllabus

A poem written by an al-Qaeda boss while detained at Guantanamo Bay has been put on a university syllabus in India, it's reported.

Ode to the Sea was one of a number of works composed by Ibrahim al-Rubaish - now a senior figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular - in charcoal and toothpaste on the wall of his cell. But when it was placed on a literature syllabus by the University of Calicut, teachers and students demanded its withdrawal, reports the Hindustan Times. The poem was apparently contained in an anthology featuring works by celebrated poets such as Pablo Neruda, Sylvia Plath and Kamala Das.

Students were most angered by the fact that biographical references to al-Rubaish mentioned only his education and Saudi nationality, not his imprisonment or al-Qaeda links, the paper reported. It quoted a representative of the Kerala-based university as saying the course needed "hard-hitting poems on right issues" and that there was no way of checking the antecedents of all authors. Al-Rubaish was extradited from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia in 2006 but escaped custody and remains on the Saudi most-wanted list.

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