Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 18, is a Somali immigrant who has been identified as the suspect who unleashed a gruesome knife attack on the Ohio State University campus on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, injuring 11. Artan was shot and killed by officer Alan Harujko, 28, following the knife attack.
While some of Artan’s biographical data is being disputed as reports claim he lied about his age to aid his immigration status, he is a Somali refugee believed to have come to the United States via Pakistan.
Based on current reports of his age, Artan entered the U.S. in 2014 when he would have been 16. It could be difficult to verify his true age because he entered the U.S. as a refugee. Refugees who are under age 18 can be granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status to enter the country. Often, people seeking asylum are unable to provide legal documentation, which can be seized, withheld or simply never issued in their country of birth.
Upon entering the U.S., at some point, Artan moved to Ohio. Census figures show about 8K Somalians live in Ohio; it’s the second largest Somalian population in the U.S., behind Minnesota.
Artan matriculated at Columbus State Community College. He graduated cum laude with an Associate of Arts degree in 2016 and continued taking classes through summer semester 2016. Artan later transferred to Ohio State University.
In an interview with OSU’s newspaper, The Lantern, Artan shared his fears about being Muslim [at the school]. The August 2016 article is titled “Humans of Ohio State.”
“If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen,” he said. “I am a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be.
“It’s the media that put that picture in their heads, so they’re just going to have it and it, it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable.”
He told the newspaper he was “kind of scared right now.”
“But I just did it. I relied on God. I went over to the corner and just prayed,” said Artan, who worked at Home Depot in Columbus, Ohio.
Following the attack at OSU, leaders of the Muslim faith are asking the community to allow law enforcement to do their jobs.
“As Ohioans, as Americans and as Muslims, we’re shocked by today’s senseless attack,” said Roula Allouch, national board chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We stand together with Ohioans of all faiths and backgrounds in praying for the speedy recovery of all those who were injured in today’s attack.”