Ohio State attacker felt isolated as a Muslim on campus, posted to Facebook minutes before attack


Ohio State attacker

Madison Rexroat

The student who injured 11 people on Monday in a deliberate attack at Ohio State University, now identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, once felt isolated as a Muslim on campus.

Artan and his family fled from Somalia in 2007, moving to Pakistan and then coming to the US in 2014 as legal permanent residents. Artan enrolled in Columbus State Community College in 2014 and received an associate’s degree in 2016.

At the time of the attack, Artan was a transfer student at OSU and was in his first semester studying logistics management. In the Aug. 25 issue of the campus newspaper, Artan was interviewed for “Humans of Ohio State,” where he expressed feeling out of place at the university as a Muslim student.

“I just transferred from Columbus State. We had prayer rooms, like actual rooms where we could go pray because we Muslims have to pray five times a day,” Artan said in the piece. 

“I mean, I’m new here. This is my first day. This place is huge, and I don’t even know where to pray,” he continued.

“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’s going to make them feel uncomfortable. 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.”

On Monday, Artan drove into a crowd of pedestrians and started stabbing at people with a butcher knife, according to police. He was shot and killed by a police officer within minutes.

Artan’s motive was not immediately known, but according to reports by ABC and NBC, a Facebook post by Artan mentioned a US-born jihadi leader who was killed in a drone strike in 2011.

According to law enforcement officials, Artan’s Facebook post said: “If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace [with ISIS].”

“Seeing my fellow Muslims being tortured, raped and killed in Burma has led to a boiling point. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that. Every single Muslim who disapproves of my actions is a sleeper cell, waiting for a signal. I am warning you Oh America!” 

ISIS took credit for the attack in a news release Tuesday. They said Artan was a “soldier of the Islamic State.”

To read the full article by BuzzFeed News, click here.