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Note from Nov. 28 attacker leaves clues on possible motives

As the FBI conclude their investigation into the attack on Ohio State’s campus on Nov. 28, they released a note written by attacker Abdul Razak Ali Artan that gives new insight into the motives behind his violence.

In the note, first obtained by the Associated Press through an open records request after the FBI unclassified its investigation on the incident, Artan urged his family to stop being “moderate” Muslims and that he “(pledged) his allegiance to ‘dawla”, an Arabic word that means state or country.

Vehicles from the Columbus Division of Fire and the Columbus Division of Police lined West 19th Avenue on Nov. 28. Credit: Mason Swires | Former Assistant Photo Editor

The note was found ripped up next to Artan’s bed the morning of the attack, and was reassembled by investigators trying to piece together what exactly spurred Artan’s actions.

In the note handwritten by Artan, assumed to be written to his parents, he says that he “will intercede for you in the day of Judgment.”

Artan continued, saying he would like to leave his property to his loved, “but yet ‘moderate mother.’”

The AP report included testimonies from family and associates, with Bob Fitrakis, the family’s lawyer, saying “The family is mystified by what happened. They’re absolutely absolutely clueless,”.

The initial photo of Abdul Razak Ali Artan that appeared in an August issue of The Lantern. Credit: Kevin Stankiewicz | Editor In Chief

Artan was widely known by work colleagues and fellow students as a mild-mannered and normal 18-year-old student, who had success at both Columbus State and OSU before abruptly dropping his classes a few weeks before the violent attack.

Facebook posts just minutes before the attack portray a deeply religious young man, culturally troubled and visibly irritated over US-Muslim relations.

“If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace” with the Islamic State, he proclaimed in his Facebook posts, which became some of his last words before his death. His brother, worried about the angry posts, tried to call Artan, but to no avail.

On Nov. 28, Artan drove a car into a crowd of people who were already outside due to an unrelated gas leak. He proceeded to jump from his car and attack the crowd with a butcher knife, injuring 11 students and faculty in total. He was shot and killed by OSU police officer Alan Horujiko within one minute of the attack.

Law-enforcement officials stood near the body of Abdul Razak Ali Artan, lying near the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry building on North Campus. Credit: Mason Swires | Former Assistant Photo Editor

The records give more clarity to the attack itself as well, showing that Artan yelled “I’m going to…kill you,” with an expletive at a woman.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement put out by its Amaq News Agency the next day. A translation of the statement from ISIS claiming the attack called Artan a “soldier of the Islamic State”.

Donald J. Trump, then president-elect, tweeted the next day that Artan should have not been allowed into the country. The White House later included the OSU attack in a list of events Trump felt the media under-reported.

Students wrote positive messages on paper boards in the Ohio Union following the attack on Nov. 28. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo Editor

Following the attack, various efforts were made by OSU clubs and organizations to make Muslim students feel comfortable amidst critical media coverage of their religion. Different forums and panels were held to help non-Muslims in the OSU community get to know the religion for more than what they see on the news.

Banners and markers were placed in the Ohio Union for students to peacefully facilitate conversations following the attack, which resulted in many leaving messages of love and support for the OSU Muslim community.


The Muslim Student Association also held a “Get To Know Your Neighbors” open house allowing for those outside of their community to witness a welcoming address and traditional Muslim prayer.


  1. The Muslim community has to get out of this mode of denial and identify the elephant in the room. There is a serious issue of radicalization among muslim youth and it is justified by moderates by playing victim card every now and then. I agree that US has been involved in killings in middle east nations but what about us from Philippines who recently experienced a major terror attack by ISIS? People in the West are so afraid of being called racist (BTW islam is not race) or Islamophobic that they don’t want to address this issue or even voice their opinion on this issue.
    I request the moderator of this page to kindly post my message respecting freedom of expression accorded to me by the constitution.

    • Robert W. Bentley

      This comment only illustrates the problem that PC “tippy-toeing’and lapdog liberal press underplay of Muslim terror serve little to protect our national security. Same can be said for the far left agenda playing to special interest groups appealing to overtrumped (excuse the pun) victim fears such as phony Islamophobia. For example the blowup after the election in the MSM about the huge number of “hate crimes” proved to be way the hell overhyped and false as many were proven staged events and some 800 reported crimes were cited according to the Southern Poverty Law Center,now showing to be a considerable hate group of its own as exemplified in the recent assassination attempt and the SPLC’s miserable attempts to brand innocent groups like pro-life family and other conservative groups obnoxious to their leftist ideology as “hate groups”.
      The recent ISIS terror attacks in the Philippines barely get a mention in our cowering media-hey, it’s only the Phillipinos -but of course they don’t matter (but WE aren’t racist are we?). Terror and violence, now even assassination seem to be the province of the leftists and the Islamic radicals who just plain get a pass from a fawning “ends justify the means” academia, Hollywood elite and a supine media.

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