On Monday, Ohio State University student Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 18, plowed his car into a crowd of people. He exited the car and stabbed bystanders, injuring eleven people, before a cop shot and killed him.
Authorities have not found a specific motive, but they have started an investigation into Artan’s social media posts. It appears he considered American-born Anwar al-Awlaki a hero:
“America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,” Abdul Razak Ali Artan reportedly wrote on Facebook, using the Arabic term for the world’s Muslim community.
The posts from Artan’s account came to light after Monday’s violence, which left 11 people injured.
“Every single Muslim who disapproves of my actions is a sleeper cell, waiting for a signal. I am warning you Oh America!” Artan also said.
Artan came to America in 2014:
Artan was born in Somalia and was a legal permanent U.S. resident, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.
A U.S. government official said Artan came to the United States in 2014 as the child of a refugee. He had been living in Pakistan from 2007 to 2014. It is not uncommon for refugees to go to a third-party country before being permanently resettled.
Officials told Fox News the praising of al-Awlaki has them concerned “because it could suggest he was self-radicalized before launching the attack.” Al-Awalki has become a poster child for terrorists, especially those who live in America:
[Fort Hood killer Nidal] Hasan, a military psychiatrist, sent e-mails to al-Awlaki before killing 13 people in a 2009 attack at Fort Hood in Texas.
“Underwear Bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was recruited by al-Awlaki for a failed 2009 attempt to blow up an airplane.
Syed Rizwan Farook, who killed 14 people during a 2015 rampage in San Bernardino, Calif., was also an al-Awlaki fan.
Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev watched his videos, too.
A CIA drone strike five years ago killed al-Awlaki.
The Islamic State (ISIS) have claimed Artan as one of their own, calling him a soldier:
The group released a one-paragraph statement on its news wire, via the messaging app Telegram, that included the same stock phrases it has used in previous claims.
Although there was no immediate evidence that the student had claimed allegiance to the Islamic State, or had any other communication with the group, the vast majority of attacks claimed this way have eventually been shown to at least have been inspired by the group’s propaganda.
The FBI took all of Artan’s electronics for its investigation, which will concentrate “on whether he was reading the two recent ISIS propaganda journals that called for attacks using vehicles and knives.”
Unfortunately, terrorists have used this tactic before. Professor Jacobson wrote that the attacks reminded him of the Knife Intifada in Israel between October 2015 and July 2016 when Palestinians drove their cars into crowds of people and then leave the cars to stab the bystanders.
In August, Artan spoke with the university’s paper and blamed the media for everyone’s misconceptions against Muslims:
Mr. Artan was quoted in an August “Humans of Ohio State” feature in The Lantern, the school’s student newspaper, that he was “kind of scared” to pray publicly because of media coverage of his religion. “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,” he said.
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