The Ohio State attack teaches us to be cautious

Student Ashley Greivenkamp signs a community message board at the Ohio State University student union on Nov. 29 following an attack on campus the previous day, in Columbus, Ohio. (John Minchillo/Associated Press)

AMERICANS ARE right to be frightened by the appalling attack at Ohio State University, where a young Somali student rammed his car into a group of people on the sidewalk, then emerged from the driver’s seat to slash some of them with a knife. It was the latest, though hardly the worst, in a string of assaults across the country carried out by Muslims, including citizens, immigrants and, as in this case, a refugee. That is justifiable cause for concern.

Hatred is ecumenical, of course. Muslims have no monopoly on horrific acts of violence, as one is reminded by the trial underway of Dylann Roof, the accused church gunman charged with murdering nine black worshippers in South Carolina last year.

Still, the fact that the Islamic State claimed credit for the OSU attack was seized on by President-elect Donald Trump, who tweeted that the assailant — a Somali-born student who was admitted to the United States as a refugee after spending several years in Pakistan — “should not have been in our country.” On Thursday, he reiterated his threat to “suspend immigration from regions where it cannot be safely processed” and said that programs to admit refugees were created by “our very stupid politicians.”