The Somali refugee who first rammed his car into a crowd of students Monday morning at Ohio State University and then exited his vehicle to slash the students with a butcher knife had reportedly perceived himself and in fact all Muslims as victims.
In an interview published three months ago in the university’s student newspaper, The Lantern, attacker Abdul Razak Ali Artan explicitly complained about being afraid to pray in the open on campus.
“I wanted to pray in the open, but I was scared with everything going on in the media,” he told the paper. “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.”
According to ABC News, Artan posted a similar rant to his Facebook page minutes before beginning his rampage Monday.
“I can’t take it anymore,” he wrote. “America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah (community). We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that. If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace. We will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims.”
As of Tuesday morning, authorities had not yet determined whether Artan had any ties to the Islamic State group, though according to reports the terror network had in recent weeks been urging its followers to commit attacks via vehicles and/or knives.
If the young man were traced to the terror group, it would be just another reminder of how hard it had become to identify potential terrorists.
“So many people, who are flipped by ISIS propaganda remotely, look like they are leading successful lives,” ABC News contributor and former U.S. National Coordinator for Security and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke noted. “It’s so hard to predict when the propaganda will get through to them to the point where they crack and go violent.”
Speaking with The Columbus Dispatch, a nearby restaurant owner who often sold lamb gyros to Artan described him as a “cool guy,”someone who seemed perfectly normal and incapable of committing an alleged terror attack.
Unfortunately in this day and age, some seemingly “cool” guys are not so cool after all.
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H/T The Daily Beast