Muslim communities in the United States are sending an appeal to the public to avoid from generalizing Islam and to refrain from venting their ire on all Muslims in the wake of attacks by a lone suspect at the Ohio State University on Monday.
In an interview over NBC news, Hassan Omar, president of the Somali Community Association of Ohio, said of the news that the crime was perpetrated by a Somali, 18- year old OSU student Abdul Razak Ali Artan is indeed, truly upsetting for them. The attack was made by Artan alone.
"This is a shock! Every Somali person has been calling me, and everybody is crying," Omar said. "As a Somali community here, we are in a state of shock. In Columbus, we live in a very peaceful community. This is going to affect the life of everybody. We are American, and we don't want somebody to create this problem."
The Council on American- Islamic Relations, on the other hand, condemned the attack and echoed the sentiments of Omar's group during a recent press conference after the attack
"Like all of our fellow Columbus citizens we are saddened and heartbroken by this senseless act of violence and we want to condemn in the strongest possible terms this and any other kind senseless violent act," says Jennifer Nimer, Legal Director for CAIR's Ohio Chapter during the news conference Monday.
They also urged the public to not put judgment on all Muslims or Somalis, as investigators are still piecing together the motives behind the incident. The group also extends support for the ongoing investigation and willing to help in any way they can.
"We as yet know nothing about the motivation of the attack but we do know of his Somali heritage and that will be enough for some people to falsely link this tragic incident to the faith of Islam and the Somali and Muslim communities," says Roula Allouch, the national board chair of CAIR.
"We are living in times where there's been increased violence against members of the American Muslim community and we want to ensure that as Americans we stand drawn together, united and we don't allow the act of one individual to cause a backlash against others," Allouch added.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms arrived in Columbus, Ohio late Monday and have already started their investigation regarding the attacks.