Monday, November 28, 2016

Ohio State University attacker was a Somali Muslim refugee

Abdul Razak Ali Artan as he appeared in an interview with the school newspaper. The Lantern/NBC

The suspect in the Ohio State University attack which sent 11 people to the hospital was a Somali Muslim refugee named Abdul Razak Ali Artan. NBC News. Artan rammed his car into a crowd of people who had evacuated Ohio State buildings after a fire alarm, presumably caused by Artan himself. He then pulled a knife out and started stabbing people before being shot by a police officer. Artan, a student at Ohio State, was by all accounts a good student who had already graduated with an associates degree with honors from a community college. However, police have discovered social media posts where he praised the late al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki and made references to lone wolf attacks. 

My Comment:
As I was following this story this morning I immediately thought that this was probably a terrorist attack. I thought that the use of a vehicle and a knife probably indicated someone who wanted to cause chaos and destruction but didn't have the resources to get a better weapon or explosives. That showed to me that it was probably a lone wolf attacker. I also thought the attack was going to break a few narratives since even before the attack was concluded people on social media were calling for more gun control... despite the fact that the suspect didn't have a gun. 

With this new information out now, I have no doubt that this was a terrorist attack. Artan was a Somali Muslim, which isn't damning on it's own. But the fact that he had social media posts praising Anwar al-Awlaki and ranting about lone wolf attacks pretty clearly indicate that he did this for political reasons, not personal ones. 

Though I haven't heard of any connections to any specific terrorist groups, the type of attack indicates to me that Artan was probably reading Islamic State propaganda. Indeed, they just released a brutal video, that was briefly on youtube, that showed potential recruits how to use knives in a terror attack. They demonstrated their techniques on a real person that they murdered. They have long called for lone wolf attacks using any weapon available, and have even suggested using vehicles as weapons.  

Even if Artan did not directly work for ISIS, it seems probable that he was inspired by the terror group. He followed their instructions closely and was actually pretty clever about how he conducted the attack. Pulling a fire alarm and then attacking the people gathered around outside was a clever move. He failed at killing anyone besides himself but had the police officer not shown up when he did, his attack may have been much more successful. 

Speaking of which, the cop that shot down Artan is a hero. He stopped a terror attack that could have killed a lot of people. Like I said, Artan was smart and the only reason nobody died but him is because he got shot. 

This attack also strengthens the argument against taking in refugees from Muslim countries. From what I understand, Artan was one of the good ones before all this happened. He was doing well in school and was part of the community. Had he not done what he did he would have been held up as a propaganda tool for the supporters of immigration. A guy going to a top university who already graduated with honors from a community college seems like someone that has a future. 

Instead he decided to devote himself to terrorism. Instead of becoming a productive member of the community, he decided to die trying to murder as many people as possible. Which begs the question, if someone like Artan can fall to the false song of Jihad, why can't the rest of the Somali Muslims brought into the country? If one of the "good ones" who has a bright future and looks like he had a good shot of integrating into American society commits a brutal terror attack, what chance does someone with a lot fewer IQ points and no prospects do? 

Indeed, if we have never brought Artan into this country then this attack never would have happened. I think the people that let him into the country deserve almost as much blame for this terror attack as the man who pulled if off. I am hoping that our president elect takes a new direction when it comes to immigration from Muslim areas. I also want to say that this was a reason why I didn't vote for the governor of Ohio, John Kasich in the primaries. He has been pro-immigration from the start and right now he is reaping what he has sown. 

However, such a change will not do anything about the Muslims already here that may be considering terror attacks. What can we do about them? Honestly, not much. The propaganda from the Islamic State is easily accessible and not something we can really prevent.  And trying to do so would probably be unconstitutional. 

What might help though is if people would actually report people when they start praising famous terrorists and ranting about lone wolf attacks. The fact that nobody turned in Artan for his social media posts tells me one of two things. Either nobody that he was friends with thought what he was posting was all that bad or people were too afraid of being called racists or bigots to report him. 

We can do things about both issues. We need to encourage American Muslims to report suspicious people like this. To be fair, many of them do and have reported Jihadists, but the ones that haven't need to be reached. Secondly, we also need to make it acceptable politically to report Muslims who express Jihadists ideology. Doing so alone isn't illegal but given how dangerous the threat is, people who profess support for terrorist should be investigated. 

I think it is significant that this attack occurred at a college. I think if a college student had seen what Artan was planning they would be even less likely to report it then people in the real world. To do so, especially through school channels, would risk being labeled a bigot and could even lead to being expelled. And given how apologetic the left is to Muslim terrorists, there is a good chance that many people were convinced that what Artan was saying was acceptable. 

That needs to change and it needs to change now. It's not bigoted to report someone who is making threats, even if that person is a Muslim. It is also not bigoted to call for a halt to immigration from Muslim countries when refugees and 2nd generation immigrants are committing horrible terror attacks. Perhaps someday if Islam has a reformation movement it will become safer to let these people in. But right now it doesn't seem to be worth the risk... 

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