While authorities are still not willing to call yesterday’s attack at Ohio State University an act of terror, we are learning much more about the attacker. Abdul Razak Ali Artan was a Somali refugee, and a Muslim.
Artan posted a message on Facebook saying he was “sick and tired of seeing my fellow Muslim brothers being killed and tortured.” He then drove to campus, attempted to run students down with his car, and then stabbed 11 people.
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Terrorist? It is clear that Artan’s indiscriminate violence was meant to cause fear and panic. His desperate attack was designed to kill people at random. While he may not have been radicalized in the traditional sense, or have ties to ISIS, his actions clearly constitute terrorism.
Artan’s Facebook posts provide the most clear sense of his motives at this early stage. He writes about radical cleric Anwar Awlaki and accuses Americans of “interfering” with Muslim nations.
“I am sick and tired of seeing my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters being killed and tortured EVERYWHERE,” one post reads. “I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially Muslim Ummah (communities)… [if] you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks.”
“We are not weak, remember that,” the post concluded.
Hours earlier, he’s posted a more cryptic message: “Forgive and forget. Love.”
Artan was a Somali refugee. He immigrated Pakistan in 2007 with his family. He’s only been in America for two years.
Earlier this summer, Artan (who was a student at OSU) was interviewed by the school newspaper, The Lantern. He spoke of his difficulties finding a place to pray.
“This place is huge, and I don’t even know where to pray. I wanted to pray in the open, but I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen,” Artan said.
The words seem ironic now that Artan has become the radical cliche. Less than a minute after attempting to run students down with his car, and then attacking them with a knife, Artan met Officer Alan Harujko. The OSU campus police officer issued a verbal warning. When Artan failed to comply, Harujko shot and killed him.