In the early hours of Sunday morning, news broke of an active shooter at an Orlando night club. As things became clearer, we became aware of the horrific extent of what had occurred. The attack that took place saw 50 people killed and a further 53 injured in what has been described as one of the worst shootings to take place in the US in recent years.
The perpetrator of the attack has been identified at US citizen Omar Mateen. Much is being said about his motives and apparent links to ISIS. Media focus has inevitably shifted the focus onto his religion but there is also a case to be made with regards to his mental capacity as highlighted by his ex-wife and the wider issue of gun laws in the US.
These discussion will be ongoing and as always, it is important for there to be mature debate on these issues. Additionally, there must be a show of compassion and a sharing in the grief of the family and friends who have lost loved ones. The Muslim community has not been silent in this regard. The Muslim community and prominent leaders have all come out to express their outrage at what took place and show compassion to those hurting the most. Below are some of the social media posts that were published by senior Imams and Scholars in the immediate aftermath of the attack.
Shaykh Omar Suleiman
#Orlando Senseless. Barbaric. Despicable. As the shouting wars begin on television and social media, don’t forget the grief of the families who woke up to the news that their loved ones were ruthlessly taken away from them. Our thoughts and prayers are with them today. We condemn this unspeakable horror.
We just spent a week honoring a man, well known to us, who was inspired by Islam to spread peace & justice to every corner of this world, touching millions of lives in a beautiful way. I, and Muslims across this country, refuse to be involuntarily represented by some demented murderer unknown to us who ruthlessly took the lives of tens of people in Orlando today.
Imam Suhaib Webb
Thoughts and prayers with the victims, their families,the LGBTQ community, law enforcement and the city of Orlando. Today’s murders remind us of hatred’s dangerous power and the great work we have to do in building the capacity to temper it.
Imam Khalid Latif
Thinking of my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community this morning. I can only imagine how the loved ones of those killed in last night’s horrific actions in Orlando are feeling. The only way to make sense of such senseless acts is through living with hope, compassion and love. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. #OrlandoShooting
Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda
Senseless, barbaric violence. Total disregard for humanity. I pray for justice, unity, & the families who lost loves ones.
Seek truth and strive to be a source of light and healing in the world. Much will be made about the religion of the shooter. I do not know of a sound religious tradition that allows for indiscriminate killing.
Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed
You see, my heart hurts today. For so many reasons. My heart hurts because as human beings we continue to cause senseless suffering and pain to further our political agendas.
As a human being, I grieve for the loss of life in Florida today. As a Muslim, I remind my community to share their grief and condolences as any member of *the human family*. But I also remind my community to be careful. By apologizing for something you did not do, you only further the “us vs them” agenda. This isn’t a case of Muslim vs. Non-Muslim. This is a case of human vs. those who have no regard for humanity.
So, share your grief as a human being. Be compassionate, but not defensive. Empathetic. Not apologetic. There is a difference. We apologize about things we’ve done. We empathize about horrific things *others* have done, that have nothing to do with us.
Brothers and sisters in faith and in humanity, let’s come together against all forces–on any side of the spectrum, from any political entity or government–that continue to shed blood to further their political agendas.
Imam Qari Muhammad Asim
#Orlando shooting, resulting in the death of 50 people, is reprehensible. A criminal is a criminal, irrespective of his faith or background. Islam does not condone violence against any individual or a community because of anyone’s differences with them.
Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa
Dr Musharraf Hussain
Additionally to this, the Muslim community in America, through civil society groups such as ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) and CAIR (Centre for American Islamic Relations), are openly encouraging Muslims to donate blood to the victims. The Muslim led crowdfunding site LaunchGood has also set up a donation page to help raise funds for the victims of the families to help with their short term needs. The American Muslim community has also penned a joint statement in the wake of the Orlando Shootings that has been signed by leading Muslim American Imams and Scholars. In the UK, senior Imams and members of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation‘s National Council of Imams and Rabbis came together to condemn the attack.
Whilst those with agendas will seek to politicize this tragedy and use it to further entrench an ‘Us vs Them’ narrative, the reaction of the Muslim community and its leaders reflects and emulates the compassion and sense of humanity that has been taught to them by their faith. As always, we continue to pray for the swift end to violence and bloodshed taking place all over the world.