Ohio State University Assistant Director of Residence Life Stephanie Clemons Thompson apparently called for sympathy for Abdul Razak Ali Artan in a Facebook post. Artan was the 20-year-old Somali who ran over fellow students with a borrowed car on Monday, and then slashed and stabbed several others. He was shot to death by a police officer minutes later.
An apparent screen capture of a social media post on Facebook made by Thompson subsequently appeared on Twitter and has been shared by others.
While urging recipients to not share the post, she wrote:
“Abdul Razak Ali Artan was a BUCKEYE, a member of our family. If you think it is okay to celebrate his death and/or share a photo of his dead body and I see it in my timeline I will unfriend you. I pray you find compassion for his life, as troubled as it clearly was. Think of the pain he must have been in to feel that his actions were the only solution. We must come together in this time of tragedy. #BuckeyeStrong #BlackLivesMatter #SayHisName. “DO NOT SHARE THIS POST”
Spero News reached out to Thompson’s office. The person who answered directed calls to media spokesperson Kellie Uhrig. A call by Spero News was not answered by the time of the deadline. a
A Facebook account in the name of Stephanie Clemons Thompson shows no post such as the one referenced above. However, it is possible for users of Facebook to remove offending posts. The bio at that Facebook account notes that Stephanie Clemons Thompson is from East Cleveland, Ohio, and has attended Baldwin-Wallace College and Ohio University. It says that she was a Coordinator at OSU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Artan was a refugee who emigrated to the United States in 2014 and was a legal permanent resident. He graduated Columbus State Community College this spring. Before his attack, he wrote on Facebook to warn that a “sleeper cell” of Muslim terrorists is within the United States, and called on the country to cease interfering with Muslim countries.
Artan reportedly posted on Facebook, “I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,” adding, “We will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims,” he declared. Artan was profiled in an interview with the campus magazine, The Lantern, this August. He said, “This place is huge, I don’t even know where to pray.”
Artan said he wanted to pray in the open but was scared because of recent media coverage. On campus, there are at least three places of prayer for Muslims.
“If people look at me a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, whats going to happen,” he wrote.
Artan denounced the media, declaring “it’s the media that puts that picture in their heads so they’re going to have it and it, it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable.”
“We have to consider that it is,” a terrorist attack, Columbus Ohio Police Chief Kim Jacobs said in a press conference after the attack. She noted its similarity to an attack by a Muslim from Guinea at a restaurant owned by a Christian from Israel. In that case, the assailant shouted “Allahu akbar!” before slashing and stabbing customers. He was shot dead by police, too.