The worst mass shooting in modern day America was recently carried out by a Muslim named Omar Mateen. Because he was a Muslim, the media stereotypically made sure there was no mention of him being a “loner” or being “crazy” or having “mental health problems”, despite the fact that he clearly had many unresolved skeletons in his closet (divorce, confused sexuality, steroid use, domestic abuse, drinking alcohol, and the rest). Instead, predictably, the ISIS-Islam-Muslim immigration triumvirate was pushed to the forefront, with the phrase “self-radicalised” being heard often on various news channels.

An interesting development resulting from this incident is the current discussion taking place over gun control. The political left in the States (mainly Democrats) are focusing more on the issue of reforming gun control laws, whereas the right (mainly Republicans) are focusing more on the aforementioned triumvirate. Caught in the middle are the LGBT community, still mourning their dead, and still having to deal with continuing daily discrimination on many fronts.

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Trump and Clinton

To add to the media double standards, whilst a Muslim was shooting 49 people dead in Orlando, over in Los Angeles a white man named James Howell was apparently about to do the same but, surprise surprise, that incident hardly received any press coverage.

Another example of this media bias is highlighted by the BBC article There Have Been 93 Us Gun-Related Deaths In 72 Hours, Not Including Orlando, well worth a read. Furthermore, the anti-gay protests by followers of the Westboro Baptist Church at the funerals of some of the Orlando victims funerals shows that hatred comes in many different colours and ideologies.

Ignoring all the non-reverential conspiracy theories emerging (just search in YouTube for ‘Orlando false flag’ or ‘Orlando hoax’ and you’ll see what I mean), plenty has been said and written on this horrific incident, and below are some of the more interesting viewpoints I have come across.

Samantha Bee’s passionate anti-gun rant has gone viral…

There is no shortage of troubled twentysomethings out there, and whether they are radicalized by ISIS, or homophobia, or white nationalism, or a dislike of movies, we are making it far too easy for their derangement to kill us. – Samantha Bee

Trevor Noah has a slightly calmer but just as relevant response…

President Obama has hosted 12 state dinners, but he’s had to give 16 mass shooting addresses. – Trevor Noah

A joint statement has been issued from many prominent Muslims condemning the attack…

On behalf of the American Muslim community, we, the undersigned, want to extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the barbaric assault that occurred early yesterday morning at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida. We unequivocally say that such an act of hate-fueled violence has no place in any faith, including Islam. As people of faith, we believe that all human beings have the right to safety and security and that each and every human life is inviolable. – opening paragraph from the joint statement on the recent Orlando shootings made by 460 prominent Muslims and Muslim groups, including Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Yusuf Islam

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf says the killer was a ‘nominal Muslim’…

This man wasn’t a radical Islamist. To drink or go to gay bars, or any kind of bar, is prohibited in Islam. He seemed to be a nominal Muslim. He went to mosques on occasion but I don’t see a lot of devotion there. – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, in an interview about the aforementioned joint statement

Imam Nouman Ali Khan also responds, focusing on online misinformation…

Our deen (faith) is unconditional when it comes to the sanctity of all human life and there is no exception to this…When it comes to this religion whoever violates it, whether they’re Muslim or not, they’ve committed a crime and this is a crime and there’s no other way of looking at it…You can’t be a student of this Qur’an and come to that conclusion, that killing innocent people of any whatever sin you think they’re doing, that that’s OK for you to kill them. That just doesn’t come out as a conclusion from any level of serious study of this book. – Imam Nouman Ali Khan

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi echoes the above views of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, as well as focusing on media double standards…

A crazy man is a crazy man, even if he acts in the name of a race, or a civilisation, or a religion…Why is it that anyone who goes crazy of another faith community is a lone wolf? Why is it that they have a mental issue, and yet for some reason everybody in our community never has any mental problems? This guy is a mental lunatic. There is no question about it. Something snapped in his head, he did what he did, a sane person does not do this…We are tired of these double standards and somebody has got to stand up and call a spade a spade…I represent myself, he does not represent me. Mainstream Muslims are represented in the masajid (mosques). We represent Islam over here. Every masjid in north America is packed with people praying. What was this guy doing at a bar? What was this guy doing at a location in the nights of Ramadhaan that none of us are going to? – Shaykh Yasir Qadhi

Mufti Ismail Menk comments about the prophet Adam and the oneness of humanity…

Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa makes a sharply succinct point…

When the blood is spilt on the face of the earth, in an unjust way, the devil is right behind that. That is what the devil does, that is what demons do, they spill blood…in order to sow grief, sorrow into the heart of the believers. You get the point? – Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa

Nihad Awad reminds us that all minority groups are in it together…

The liberation of the American Muslim community is inextricably linked with the liberation of all minority groups—Black, Latino, Gay, Jewish, Trans and every other community that has faced discrimination and oppression in this country. We cannot fight injustice against some groups, and not against others. Homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and Islamophobia are all interconnected systems of oppression, and we cannot dismantle one without dismantling the others. As a Muslim, I may not subscribe to your faith or your lifestyle, but I am obligated to respect your choice. – Nihad Awad

Orlando has also put the spotlight on the minority group to end all minority groups: gay Muslims…

This topic is now being discussed more openly than ever. Just to give a few examples: Huffington Post recently posted an article entitled The Gay Muslim Elephant In The Room, CNN posted the article What It’s Like To Be Gay And Muslim, and The Nation had an article covering Gay Pride Month and Ramadan. This article said:

Gay Pride Month and Ramadan exist in different calendars—one solar, one lunar—but not in different worlds. Although the devastating violence of Orlando and a corresponding politics of fear threaten to keep them apart, it is within our power to celebrate their coincidence, and in so doing, to create a new occasion for mutual understanding. – Muneer I Ahmad

In the same article the author makes another relevant point, this time about Donald Trump:

The failure to reconcile the LGBT and Muslim communities leaves both at the cynical mercy of Donald Trump and his apologists. Trump casts LGBT rights as under threat from Muslims, and therefore from immigration of Muslims, including refugees. – Muneer I Ahmad

Speaking of Trump, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert brilliantly analyse his anti-Muslim response to the shootings…

Adam Hill talks about gun control in the States and the killer saying he is ‘part of ISIS’…

That’s the problem with giving guns to everyone: it only works if everyone agrees on who the bad guys are. And here’s the thing, whenever there’s a mass shooting gun sales go up in America. We know that. But if gun sales go up so do the shares in gun companies. So that means gun companies and their shareholders actually make money out of every mass shooting. Just think about that for a bit. And here’s the thing, the Orlando shooter claimed to be inspired by the people we like to call Cystitis. But he’s not a member of these guys. It’s just a lone nutter trying to belong to a group. I mean, it’s like me singing ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ in a karaoke night then telling people I was a member of Kiss. – Adam Hill, from Channel 4’s The Last Leg, June 2016

I will end with a quote from a movie, something that I hope we all bear in mind and heart when interacting with each other, especially those with a more divisive nature:

Put aside your notions about how people are. The world will surprise you with its grace if you let it. – from the movie 5 To 7 (2014)


  1. […] Is chasing an innocent politician, a human rights campaigner, down the streets of her local constituency, then stabbing and shooting her in broad daylight whilst shouting far right slogans not terrorising enough? It depends on your skin colour and religious bent, I guess. If the killer had been a Muslim, with or without genuine mental health issues, would the terrorism stance have been dropped so easily by the news networks? I somehow doubt it very much. This double standard in media reporting is something I have mentioned previously in relation to Orlando. […]


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