On the morning of Feb. 28, a student on the Ohio State University campus went on a rampage using his vehicle and a butcher knife as a weapon.
A car driven by Abdul Razak Ali Artan “suddenly appeared on the sidewalk,” one eyewitness explained. “It was [traveling at] high speed, and it just hit whoever came in front of him.”
After crashing into a concrete block, Artan emerged from the car and began attacking people randomly with a knife, reports The New York Times.
In total, he hit six people with his car and stabbed five with his knife before being shot dead by a university police officer. The wounded are expected to survive, according to university officials.
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Artan, a refugee from Somalia, was a permanent resident of the United States, having arrived in June 2014 as the child of a refugee, according to federal officials.
Artan allegedly posted on Facebook that he was “sick and tired of seeing my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters being killed and tortured EVERYWHERE,” reports the Daily Mail. The post continued: “I can't take it anymore.America! Stop interfering with other countries…” However, in a previous post, he wrote: "Forgive and forget. Love."
More of Artan’s thoughts are revealed in a 2015 interview with student newspaper The Lantern, notes The Times.
In the interview, he said: “I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what 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.”
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Roula Allouch, national board chairwoman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, responded to Artan’s rampage by encouraging the public to not jump to conclusions: “We as yet know nothing about the motivation of the attacker, but we do know of his Somali heritage, and that will be enough for some people to falsely link this tragic incident to the faith of Islam and to the Somali and Muslim communities.”
In Artan’s native country of Somalia, some 50,000 people have been displaced by violent conflict, reports Amnesty International. As the human rights group notes in its report for 2015/16: “Armed groups continued to conscript children, and abduct, torture and unlawfully kill civilians. Rape and other forms of sexual violence were widespread.”