Lantern reporter recalls interview with Ohio State attack suspect

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Ohio State journalism major Kevin Stankiewicz writes for the student newspaper The Lantern and interviews a variety of people from Buckeye football players to students.

As part of a Humans of Ohio State column last August, Stankiewicz profiled a new student named Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who is now also named as the only suspect in an attack that law enforcement sources said bears all the hallmarks of a lone terror attack.

”He talked about how afraid he was to pray out in public on his first day,” said Stankiewicz.

In the August 2016 article, referring to his first day as a transfer student at Ohio State, Artan said "This place is huge. I don’t even know where to pray."

He’s also quoted as saying, “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.”

It’s the same kind of message members of Columbus’ Somali community are trying to convey now, because of Artan.

Columbus became the best destination for Somali community around the globe and we don’t want someone to create a problem for the people we live with. So whatever he wrote and whatever they said it’s not our business,” Hassan Omar with Somali Community Association of Ohio said.

A message not lost on Stankiewicz, whose journalism degree will now also include a lesson in what to do when the reporter becomes the story.

“Frankly you don’t ever want the opportunity. If you go four years without ever, that’s what you want. This is not what anybody wants,” he said.

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