The Somali refugee who stabbed Ohio State University students with a butcher knife Monday praised a well-known al-Qaida terrorist on his Facebook page minutes before his attack, yet authorities say they are not ready to assign a motive.
Police shot and killed the man as he was attacking students outside a science building. Eleven people were transported to area hospitals with various injuries, according to the Columbus, Ohio, fire department.
The dead attacker was reportedly an Ohio State student – an 18-year-old Somali refugee named Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who left Somalia with his family for Pakistan in 2007 and obtained a green card to enter the U.S. in 2014. He reportedly lived near campus, CNBC News reported.
“To go over the curb and strike pedestrians and to get out and start striking them with a knife, that was on purpose,” campus Police Chief Craig Stone said. “Our officer was on the scene in less than a minute, and he ended the situation in less than a minute. He engaged the suspect, and he eliminated the threat. The suspect is DOA.”
Artan was quoted in the campus newspaper, the Lantern, several months ago complaining about the school’s lack of Islamic prayer rooms.
“I wanted to pray in the open, but I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media,” he stated. “I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be.”
He blamed the negative view Americans have of Muslims on “Islamophobia” planted in their minds by the U.S. media.
“I don’t blame them,” he continued. “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.”
On his Facebook page, Artan posted a rant about attacks on Muslims.
Appearing three minutes before the beginning of the rampage, the post reads: “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.”
The post also praised Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical American-born al-Qaida cleric, describing him as a “hero.”
Thousands of Somalis funneled into U.S. since 1990
Columbus is home to the second largest community of Somali refugees after Minneapolis. More than 99 percent of Somali refugees are Sunni Muslims. The Somali refugee program has been ongoing since at least 1990, and the U.S. State Department continues to bring in between 5,000 and 10,000 Somalis per year, according to the agency’s Refugee Processing Center.
In all, the U.S. government has imported more than 132,000 Somali Muslim refugees and distributed them into at least 300 U.S. cities and towns. More than 40 Somalis living in America have left the country since 2007 to fight for terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State, al-Qaida and al-Shabab, according to FBI reports. Dozens of others have been tried and convicted of providing material support to overseas terrorist organizations.
Kasich defends resettlements
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been a big backer of the federal government’s refugee resettlement program in his state. He issued sharp attacks on President-elect Donald Trump during the campaign, saying Trump’s position on Muslim immigration was “excessive nationalism.”
“When I look at immigration, I look at a new level of energy. I look at immigration as an opportunity,” Kasich told the Huffington Post this summer. “We want people to come to Ohio. We want to integrate these folks. We want them to become part of our economic dynamo.”
Monday’s attack on the OSU campus is the second such knife attack in Columbus this year by a Muslim immigrant.
In February, four people were wounded, one critically, while dining at the city’s Nazareth Mediterranean Restaurant, which is owned by an Arab Christian from Israel. The attacker in that case was Mohamed Barry, an immigrant from the West African country of Guinea who slashed diners with a machete before he was killed by police while shouting, “Allahu Akbar!”
One year ago, in November 2015, 18-year-old Muslim student Faisal Mohammad went on a stabbing spree at the University of California at Merced, wounding four fellow students before he was shot dead by an officer.
And in September of this year, a Somali refugee living in Minnesota went on a stabbing spree at a mall in St. Cloud, injuring 10 people before he was shot and killed by an alert off-duty cop. He asked shoppers if they were Muslim and if they said no, he attacked them with his knife.
WND reported in August on the alarming surge of knife attacks by Muslims around the world, yet the media typically cover these attacks as isolated incidents without connecting the single common denominator – Islam.
The story Monday was originally reported as an “active shooter” on the OSU campus as the university police texted instructions for students to “shelter in place” and avoid parts of the sprawling campus. But when the dust had settled, police said there never was any “shooter” on the campus.
This was a case of a lone attacker trying to kill students with his car and a butcher knife, they said.
There were 10 victims. Some suffered injuries from the car running into them while others were treated for stab wounds. Nine were listed in stable condition, and one was critical. Two victims were sent into surgery but are expected to survive.
The Islamic State and al-Qaida have encouraged Muslims to attack infidels with vehicles and knifes. The attack on a Bastille Day crowd in Paris this past summer was carried out by a Muslim migrant in a large transfer truck.
Ohio State University is a gun-free zone. Only police are allowed to carry guns on campus.
A Twitter user who appeared to be an OSU student wrote that a man had rammed his car through a group of students as they stood outside after a fire alarm had sounded. The student initially tweeted that the man emerged from the car with a knife and a gun, but then said he hadn’t actually seen a gun and had only heard gunshots.
In one account, a student told the Independent Journal Review that someone pulled the fire alarm and then “ambushed” the students as they filed out of the building, thinking it was a fire drill.
That would indicate more than one person was involved in a coordinated attack.
ISIS has encouraged lone-wolf attacks using cars and knifes on crowds of people.
Several social media accounts have circulated images of a person laid out on the ground on campus in front of police:
— JΞSTΞR ✪ ΔCTUAL³³º¹ (@th3j35t3r) November 28, 2016
OSU student Jacob Bower, 20, said he saw a man pull a knife outside between the Koffolt Laboratories and Watts Hall.
“He pulled a large knife and started chasing people around, trying to attack them,” Bower told CNN. He said it appeared to be a large butcher knife. Others described the weapon as similar to a machete.
“Luckily there were so many people, he couldn’t focus on one target. I didn’t see anyone get stabbed, but I saw the police officer take down the stabber. He waited till everyone was clear, and the stabber clearly wasn’t stopping. (It) took three shots to take him down. (The) stabber had a crazy look in his eyes.”
When asked if the suspect yelled or said anything during the attack, Bower told CNN: “He was completely silent. Which was very creepy. Not even when he was shot (by police).”
Other witnesses told local media outlets that the suspect attacked students with his car, and a law enforcement official later told NBC that some of the injured students had been attacked with a large knife.
It is unclear whether there are multiple suspects.
OSU student Phoebe Potiker tweeted pictures of Homeland Security vehicles on the scene. The FBI and ATF were also called in to assist.
Active shooter on campus. View from dorm window. Probably 20+ police cars, 5 ambulances, and fire trucks. Get inside and stay safe. pic.twitter.com/zFZCxMtphX
— Phoebe Potiker (@ppotiker) November 28, 2016