The Reporter Who Interviewed OSU Rampager for School Newspaper Has Spoken Out


As we told you earlier this week, Ohio State University’s newspaper, the Lantern, did a profile on the young refugee who would eventually plow a car through a group of students on campus, get out, and start stabbing at people with a knife. Now, the student reporter who interviewed Abdul Razak Ali Artan has written a piece for the Washington Post about his experience conducting the brief interview.

Kevin Stankiewicz wrote that looking back on the interview, which focused on the rampager’s sadness over Muslims’ portrayal in the media and fear of praying in public, he finds it “chilling.” He said this of his time interviewing the man in August:

I found a thoughtful, engaged guy, a Muslim immigrant who wanted to spread understanding and awareness while expressing muted fears that U.S. society was becoming insular and fostering unfair stereotypes of his people. He was measured and intellectual, not angry or violent.

He called the focus on the young student’s desire to pray in peace, “something that felt both important and relevant, enlightening and humanizing” and noted that he could recite instances of Islamophobia from memory, seeming “saddened” by them.

Here’s another meaningful quote:

There is nothing I heard from Artan that day that would have ever made me think he could be responsible for the brutal, senseless attack that would come just three months later. Nothing to indicate his thoughtful frustrations and fears would lead him to drive a car into a crowd of people on campus, that he would lash out with a knife at students and faculty, that he would make national news for what many believe was a terrorist attack. That he would be dead, shot by a police officer trying to prevent him from killing others.

Stankiewicz was working at the scene of the attack this week. When he found out that his interviewee had conducted the attack, he was sad, but did not and does not regret conducting the interview and running it in the first place.

“The goal of the ‘Humans of Ohio State’ project was to share stories about the people who make up the Ohio State community, from all walks of life,” he explained. “On Aug. 23, Artan told me part of his story, one that I still believe is important on so many levels.”

Click here to read it in full.

[image: screengrab]

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