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11 injured, attacker killed after 'terrifying' campus rampage at Ohio State University

The FBI is investigating whether the Somali student, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, was a lone wolf
BY Uttara Choudhury |   29-11-2016
Police respond to an attack by a Somali student at Ohio State University on Monday, November 28

Terrified students at Ohio State University ran helter-skelter when a fellow student, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, gunned his Honda Civic at them, then leaped out, slashing several students with a butcher’s knife before being shot by a university police officer, authorities said.

“This was done on purpose,” Ohio State University Police Chief Craig Stone told reporters. “To go over the curb and strike pedestrians and then get out and start striking with the knife — that was on purpose.”

Stone said the brazen campus attack began shortly before 10 am on Monday after Artan deliberately drove over a curb while gunning his car at a group of students. It was providence that officer Alan Horujko, who has been on the university security force for almost two years, arrived on the scene within a minute of the attack, and engaged Artan before he could injure more students. Horujko shot the knife-wielding student when he failed to comply with orders to put down his weapon.

“We are very fortunate that an Ohio State University Police Department officer was there and took quick action,” said Stone.

What we know about Abdul Razak Ali Artan

Multiple media outlets including CNN, Associated Press and NBC News, described the 20-year-old student who went on a rampage as a native of Somalia living in the United States as a legal permanent resident.  

Artan was profiled in the student-run college newspaper, “The Lantern,” in August in its “Humans of Ohio State” series. A third-year logistics management student, Artan had just transferred from a community college before starting the Fall semester at Ohio State University. Artan told the college paper he was struggling to find a place to pray in peace on the Ohio State University campus, one of the largest in America.

“I wanted to pray in the open, but I was 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. But I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads, so they’re just going to have it, and it — it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable,” Artan told “The Lantern.”

“The Lantern” quoted Artan as saying: “I was kind of scared right now. But I just did it. I relied on God. I went over to the corner and just prayed.”

Artan was born in Somalia and moved to Pakistan with his family in 2007. He came to the US as a legal permanent resident in 2014.

Police respond to an attack by a Somali student at Ohio State University on Monday, November 28

Was he a radicalized lone wolf terrorist?

Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco briefed President Barack Obama on Monday on the Ohio State University incident. FBI agents are in Columbus investigating Artan’s motives and possible radicalization. 

Three minutes before the beginning of the rampage that left 11 people injured, Artan posted an anti-US Facebook rant which reads: “I am sick and tired of seeing [Muslims] killed & tortured everywhere...I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that.”

In the same Facebook post, Artan hailed American-born al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, as a “hero.” In 2011, the US assassinated the radical American cleric in a drone attack in Yemen, but his influence lives on due to a proliferation of videos and CDs. There are plenty of videos on the internet of Awlaki holding forth on how the United States is at war with Islam.

“If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace,” reads Artan’s Facebook screed. “We will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims.”

America now confronts a very different threat than it did a decade ago on 9/11. The threat of homegrown terrorists in the US now rivals that of plots hatched overseas.

“While no ISIS allegiance was apparently pledged, the use of knives and cars has been a recent hallmark of ISIS-inspired or directed attacks in the West in recent years,” reported “The Daily Beast.”

There have been several episodes of gun violence across US college campuses, but none so far have been notched up to terrorist acts.


Uttara Choudhury is a writer for Forbes India and The Wire. In 1997, she went on the British Chevening Scholarship to study Journalism in the University of Westminster, in London.



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Arvind Raghunath
This kind of incident involving an immigrant student queers the pitch for foreign students. It's terrible because students visas come under that much more scrutiny. This Somali students seems to have been brainwashed by the propaganda on the Internet. Anyway, it's a sad day when US universities see this kind of violence.
30 November 2016

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