The Ohio State University’s campus was shaken to its core on November 28 when a student intentionally rammed his car into pedestrians and then began slashing passers-by with a butcher knife. That student, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, was shot and killed following the horrific incident. Investigators now believe that Artan was self-radicalized and that his attack was inspired by ISIS.
Details about Artan have come forward in an article penned by Kevin Stankiewicz, an Ohio State student who interviewed Artan for the school newspaper a little over three months ago. Stankiewicz described Artan as “a thoughtful, engaged guy, a Muslim immigrant who wanted to spread understanding and awareness while expressing muted fears that U.S. society was...fostering unfair stereotypes of his people”. Stankiewicz described him as measured and intellectual, not angry or violent. He said that nothing he heard from Artan that day would have made him think he could be responsible for the attack. So how did this young person become a violent extremist?
This question, as well as its answer, cuts to the heart of our mission at SAVE. At this point, it should not come as a surprise to read that Artan was described as “soft-spoken” and “friendly”. While there is no definitive profile of the kind of person who becomes a violent extremist, research has shown that these individuals are not always as unhinged or erratic as most people assume. The fact that a thoughtful and intelligent young man at a top university was driven to commit this crime demonstrates how no young person is immune to the influence of extremists. In many ways, Artan’s story embodies the current landscape of radicalization. Violent extremists were able to prey on Artan’s fear and twist them into something aggressive and dangerous. Last week, it was Artan. Tomorrow, it could be your child, your coworker, or your friend.
In wake of this horrible attack, we need to ask ourselves how we can help people like Artan. How can we reach out to young people who may be feeling isolated and scared? How can we offer assistance, comfort, and guidance? How can we spread knowledge and defeat ignorance and bigotry? Taking a step in the right direction can be simpler than one might think. After all, it just takes one click to hate, but it also takes one click to help, one click to comfort, and one click to save.
Have something to add to the discussion? Tweet us at @save_2016 and let us know your thoughts.
Full Article Here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/11/30/i-interviewed-the-ohio-state-attacker-on-the-first-day-of-school-it-felt-important-now-its-chilling/?postshare=5601480544121453&tid=ss_fb&utm_term=.7f0e53e8e22d
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