Hate. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think about the horrific events carried out by Omar Mateen this weekend. On what was supposed to be an average Saturday night at Pulse Nightclub, Omar Mateen came into the crowded venue and opened fire. No one could imagine the reason for such a heinous act, but as reports of his Muslim identity came out, many Muslims collectively held their breath and thought, “Here we go again.”
Immediately the act was labeled one of terrorism, a word commonly associated with Islam. Did the shooting instill fear in hundreds? Yes. But it is first, and foremost, a hate crime perpetrated against the LGBTQ community. Reports say that Omar Matten was enraged at the sight of two men kissing in Miami one day.
Was it his homophobia that led him to murder 50 people in cold blood? That’s for investigators to say. But there is no doubt that it played a vital role.
However, this fact will be overlooked by media outlets and by analysts because of one move Omar decided to make prior to this unspeakable crime. He called 911 and stated an allegiance to DAESH (we don’t refer to them as ISIS).
Once again, all eyes were on Muslim’s and fingers were pointed our way like the evil monkey in ‘Family Guy’.
It’s exhausting to have to constantly remind people that mass murder is not what Islam is about. No Muslim can consider themselves a true Muslim if they take the life of another human being. Omar Mateen is not Muslim. Daesh is not representative of Muslims. Now read that over 100 times until it sticks. Done? Do it again.
So instead of letting this event define the relationship between Islam and the LGBTQ community let us all actively, proudly, and LOUDLY stand with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters who have been victimized not only by Omar Mateen but by all those who operate in hate.
Our beloved Prophet and the prophets who came before him preached the message of love and acceptance for all so that we may be reminders that the greatest love from the Greatest Lover is something that is given away freely and in abundance.
Practice your love. Because when we come united in love, any form of hate can never win.