Local Somali leader says Ohio attacker's actions do not represent community

Hamdi Abdulle's reaction was swift when she heard late today what happened on the campus of the Ohio State University.

She came to the US from her native Somalia seeking asylum in 1995.

"I was in a state of shock honestly because I couldn't believe it," she said. "It's so sad."

It's sad, she said, that the person who terrorized the entire Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, was a Somali refugee.  She was told about some of the fearful comments on the KIRO7 Facebook page.

"They're also saying that it's terrorism," she was told.  "And that every time these things happen it involves a Muslim person and so why shouldn't people feel that?"

"People are entitled to feel what they want to feel," she said. "But in fact, it is a sin to attribute any bad things to Muslim people.  And I wholeheartedly believe this issue has something to do with mental illness, not necessarily with terrorism."

Now Abdulle, executive director of the Somali Youth and Family Centers, worries that the legacy of what happened in Ohio, will be felt here, some 2,400 miles away.

"America is not a country that is for some," she said. "It is a country for all."

Abdulle said about 30,000 Somalis live in Washington state, most of them in King County.

When asked if she believes she needs special precautions to stay safe, she said no.  She says she believes in the U.S. Constitution and that the rule of law will protect her and her community.

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