The Calicut University (CU) authorities seem to have bitten off more than they can chew by prescribing a poem written by suspected Al-Qaeda terrorist Ibrahim Al-Rubaish in its graduation syllabus.
It appears that CU authorities had overlooked the reports on Rubaish in the international media which portray him as the new religious ideologue of Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Rubaish was captured near the Pakistan-Afghan border in 2001 and spent five years at Guantanamo Bay where he wrote the poem. He was transferred to Saudi Arabia on December 13, 2006. On February 3, 2009, Saudi security officials published a new list of suspected Saudi terrorists. Al-Rubaish was one among the 85 men on this list. C R Murugan Babu, an Associate Professor with Panampilly Government College, Chalakudy and member of the Board of Studies in English (UG), Calicut University which prescribed the poem – Ode To The Sea – in 2011 for the third semester text ‘Literature and Contemporary Issues’ told Express: ‘‘We have no idea about who had proposed the poem to the Board of Studies then. When we probed into the whereabouts of the author, we only got the information that Al-Rubaish was a detainee at Guantanamo Bay. We had not obtained any information indicating his links with extremist elements during that inquiry. As it has snowballed into a controversy, we have no objection if the authorities decide to remove it from the syllabus.’’
The text was edited by Murugan Babu, along with professor T V Aravindakshan of MES Ponnani College. The introduction about the author given in the book says, ‘‘Ibrahim Sulayman Muhammad Arbaysh alias Ibrahim al-Rubaish is a Saudi citizen who was held in detention in the Guantanamo camp. In December 2006, Rubaish and a number of other Saudis were released from Guantanamo and sent to Saudi Arabia.’’