An ISIS-inspired man drove a car into a crowd on the grounds of Ohio State University, wounding 11 before he was killed by police in November 2016.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – No, not all terrorist are down and outers: some are bright young people who nevertheless radicalise to violence.
Stereotyping. We all do it. We shouldn’t, but we do.
We see a homeless person and our thoughts immediately go to: lazy, alcohol or drug addiction, no education, etc. We do not stop to see whether there are alternative explanations: let go from a good job, mental health issues, financial difficulties, etc.
The same goes for terrorism. All terrorists are ________ (fill in the blank). According to Ann Coulter, they are all Muslims (false). According to others they are all marginalised or poorly integrated (false). Still others cite a lack of education or opportunity (false).
So what do we do when a university student drives a car over fellow learners?
That is what happened on this day in 2016. A Somali refugee named Abdul Artan, who had graduated cum laude from Columbus State Community College with an associate of arts degree and was studying logistics management at Ohio State University, rammed his car into pedestrians on campus. He then began slashing passers-by with a butcher knife, injuring 11 students and faculty and staff members, before he was shot dead by a university police officer.
This car suddenly appeared on the sidewalk. It was in high speed, and it just hit whoever came in front of him. The car stopped only when it rammed a concrete block.Eyewitness to the attack
Artan had posted messages on FaceBook complaining that Muslims were being persecuted in the US. Islamic State (ISIS) claimed he was one of theirs and it was later learned that the terrorist had been inspired by US-Yemeni ideologue Anwar al Aulaqi (also rendered Awlaki).
I hope this incident teaches us all a lesson. It is unwise to jump to conclusions about who becomes a terrorist and why. It is seldom a good idea to judge a book by its cover.
Even if it is a university book.