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Mohamed M. El-Behairy, retired professor of political science at Buffalo State Oct. 30, 1931 -- Oct. 27, 2008

Mohamed M. El-Behairy, Ph.D., of Grand Island, a retired professor of political science at Buffalo State College, died Monday in Parrish Medical Center, Titusville, Fla. He was 76.

Born in Cairo, Egypt, he received his bachelor's degree from Cairo University in 1953. He earned his master's degree in 1956 from the University of Minnesota and his doctorate from Ohio State University in 1961.

Dr. El-Behairy's teaching career at Buffalo State spanned 30 years. He was chairman of the political science department from 1967 to 1969 and again from 1984 to 1987. He retired from Buffalo State in 1994.

He also was a visiting professor at universities in the Middle East. His area of specialization was Middle East politics. As a result of his expertise, he often was prevailed upon to provide commentary and analysis for various newspapers and radio programs and to lecture on Middle East and U.S. politics.

Dr. El-Behairy summed up much of his motivation for teaching during a lecture at Chautauqua Institution:

"It is not a question of accepting this religion [Islam]. It is a matter of understanding . . . We can't tolerate what we can't understand."

He was a member of the American-Arab Federation Association, Amnesty International and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He also served as the English editor of King Khaled Military Academy magazine.

Dr. El-Behairy wrote several articles and translated from Arabic to English the book "Egypt and Libya From Inside, 1969-76: Qaddafi Revolution and the Eventual Break in Relations, by the Former Egyptian Ambassador to Libya," which he co-wrote with Salah El Saadany.

He also was a regular contributor to The Buffalo News editorial page.

Survivors include his wife of 49 years, the former Sharon Botkin; a son, Joseph; and three daughters, Carrie Springer, Carima and Jasmine.

A memorial service will be at 7 p.m. Friday in Amigone Funeral Home, 2600 Sheridan Drive, Town of Tonawanda.

[MCNEIL]

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