Following the knife attack at the Ohio State University by Abdul Razak Ali Artan, there were a lot of questions and, truthfully, a lot of anger flying around. In order to find some answers, COED reached out to one Ohio State professor, Jabril Mohamed, who in addition to teaching in the department of African American and African Studies, is “a leader in the Somali Diaspora community and a member of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Generation Change Initiative and the Global Diaspora Forum.” We asked him for his thoughts on the situation and whether or not he had any contact with Artan in the past.
After taking some time to reflect on the attack, last night Professor Mohamed sent us this statement from the Somali Students Association. He also reiterated that he didn’t know Artan and that he had just transferred to the school last semester:
The act of violence that occurred at The Ohio State University earlier today was frightening and shocking. Such hatred has no place in our campus, city and state. The Somali Students’ Association at OSU unequivocally condemns this violent act. We pray for the victims and the families of those affected today.
While the Ohio State University police and other law enforcement agencies investigate this tragic incident, we call on all of our members to remain safe and vigilant. We know that some will connect this tragedy with the ethnicity or religion of the attacker. Neither our Somali heritage nor our faith condones the harming of innocent people.
As a student organization on Ohio State’s campus, we are just as shocked and hurt by this occurring on our campus, somewhere that we view as being a safe haven for students. Our organization not only condemns such actions but actively engages in making our organization a place of peace and unity not just on Ohio State’s campus but also within the Columbus community. As students, we definitely foresee the campus atmosphere changing within the next few weeks, with students being more on edge and vigilant while on and around campus. Regarding the suspect, we want to be clear, our organization does not have any affiliation to this person.
The Somali Students’ Association stands with the victims and their families. It is our goal that we remain a unified Buckeye community in tragic moments like this. We hope that we can come together and heal as a community to get through this tough time and support one another. If you experience any backlash as a result of today’s events, please contact university police or call 911. Counseling and Consultation Services are also open for those who may need assistance, you can contact them to make an appointment at 614-292-5766.
Alongside other student organizations, we will be in attendance at the#BuckeyesStrong Together event tomorrow 7pm at St. John’s Arena. We hope that you all will be able to join us in solidarity and remain safe.
We appreciate Professor Mohamed reaching out to us in such a difficult time and we wish the entire Ohio State University community a fast and speedy recovery.