by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
On August 25, 2016, the Lantern, the student newspaper for Ohio State University, published an interview with a young Somali Muslim refugee, Abdul Razak Ali Artan. “I just transferred from Columbus State,” he told the Lantern. “I wanted to pray in the open, but I was scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But, I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads.” Artan had only immigrated permanently to the United States in 2014, after living seven years in Pakistan.
On November 28, Artan allegedly rammed his car into a group of innocents, then leaped out of the car and began hacking at them with a butcher’s knife, injuring eleven people, including one critically, before being shot by an Ohio State University police officer. …
… This means that one of two things is true: Either Artan was radicalized between his complaints about Islamophobia in August and November, a span of three months or so; or he was a radical when he gave that statement to the Lantern, and merely took the final steps over the last three months.
The latter story is certainly more plausible. If it’s correct, that means that Artan, like other terrorists, used the cover of Islamophobia as a form of projection — Artan actually hated the West and that hatred drove him to murder. In order to justify violence against others, people generally have to consider themselves victims. It’s difficult to see how a refugee like Artan could consider himself a victim of the land that took him in — a land so welcoming that he could pray openly on campus without even the mildest consequence — but clearly he did. To do so meant building a story about American nastiness that could justify his actions. That’s why the leftist media consistently jumps to a perverse narrative by which every terror attack becomes the font of the next terror attack — terrorists are only victims of Western society, and the proof of that is their terrorism. If they weren’t victims, why would they kill innocents? This cyclical thought process works this way: claim Islamophobia as a rationale for terrorist backlash, then use every sign of backlash against terrorism to reinforce the Islamophobia narrative. This is the Left’s self-fulfilling prophecy of hatred.