A heavily armed gunman has killed at least 50 and injured 53 in the worst mass shooing in American history. The attack happened at a gay night club, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida. You can follow ABC’s live coverage here.
The gunman has been identified as Omar Mateen, a 29 year old who was killed following a standoff with police.
President Obama labelled the attack an ‘act of terror and act of hate’; which barely begins to describe what happened.
Mateens father, Seddique Meer Mateen, told the NBC that this attack ‘had nothing to do with religion’ and that his son had been angry after seeing a gay couple kissing a few months earlier. He added:
‘We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock, like the whole country.’
This act of violence, yet again, raises the issue of gun control in America – but I won’t get distracted by that.
In the midst of this horrendous attack, which has and will continue to impact so many people, Presidential hopefully, Trump (originally Drumpf), has taken this as an opportunity to spread more hate. It is only someone who is so hell bent on winning at all costs that would tweet the following:
Appreciate? Congrats? Really??
Of course, Trump also released a statement calling the shooter a ‘radical Islamic terrorist’ and linking the attack to 9/11. He bashed Obama for not using the terms ‘Radical Islam’. Of course, to Trump, everything involving a Muslim must be linked to radical Islam. He sees no other reasons for acts of violence.
Trump then rambled about immigrants and Muslims from the Middle East who are a bunch of terrorists, adding
‘and we will have no way to screen them, pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalizing.’
Which is just a phenomenal statement for anyone to be making. I often criticise the language used in these situations because it often implies that young Muslims are destined to become radicalised unless we save them. Trump doesn’t even imply it – he just states it, as though it’s just a fact of reality.
The unfortunate (I don’t even know if ‘unfortunate’ is the right word here) fact is that we know that comments like the ones made by Trump are more likely to make young Muslims feel isolated, alone under attack. It puts fear in the Muslim community that then braces for retaliatory attacks. Statements like Trump’s allow dangerous ISIS propaganda to work on young and frazzled minds. It results in both dangerous sides of this equation resorting to the ‘I told you so’ argument.
The importance of remaining pragmatic and not allowing divisive language to permeate our media cannot be understated. At times like these, we need to be able to separate violent acts from religion and culture.
I’m not trying to argue that this man was not motivated by religion – I don’t know that. What I’m saying is that we can’t let the act of one man taint the way we see and treat all Muslims. After all, Muslims make up 25% of the world’s population.
We can’t let Trump use one act of evil to perpetuate more evil. I can only imagine what the world would look like if America made the mistake of electing Trump.
As an aside, the Trump paradoy page has reacted to this perfectly: