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Halloween at Penn By: Michael Freund
Jerusalem Post | Monday, November 06, 2006


The president of one of the leading universities in the United States last week posed for photographs with a student dressed as a suicide bomber, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

In copies of photos obtained by the Post, University of Pennsylvania president Dr. Amy Gutmann is seen standing with engineering student Saad Saadi at the annual Halloween costume party held at the president's home.

Saadi is seen with a keffiyeh around his head, a toy Kalashnikov rifle in hand and six plastic sticks of dynamite strapped to his chest. Gutmann beams alongside him, dressed as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, a character from L. Frank Baum's novel The Wizard of Oz.

Gutmann, who is herself Jewish, was inaugurated as university president in 2004. Her father, Kurt, fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1934.

In other photos taken at Gutmann's party that evening, Saadi can be seen carrying out a series of mock hostage executions, evoking images reminiscent of the series of abductions and murders of Westerners in Iraq in 2004.

In one instance, Saadi stands over a fellow student crouched on the ground, and points a gun at her head while reciting verses from the Koran.

In another image, Saadi poses with an unidentified child as he points Saadi's toy gun at the camera.

The day after the party, Saadi was quoted in the Daily Pennsylvanian, the campus newspaper, as saying that he attended Gutmann's affair dressed as a "freedom martyr."

Founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania is based in Philadelphia and has over 23,000 students, including a large percentage of Jews. It consistently ranks among the top 10 schools of higher education in the country, and is a member of the prestigious Ivy League.

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