Although it would seem easy to see the horrific attack that occurred in Orlando as an Islamic act of terrorism, this was in fact a standalone act of hate that was prompted primarily by homophobic views on the part of the shooter.
It’s important to set aside this narrative so we can avoid much of the xenophobic rhetoric that’s been tossed around recently. To support this claim of homophobia leading to the attach that occurred, the shooter’s parents confirmed that the shooting had absolutely nothing to do with religion.
One of the imam’s at the shooter’s place of worship in Florida also asserted that the shooter’s proclaimed allegiance to ISIS was nothing but a sort of public relations ploy by the shooter. To support this claim, ISIS didn’t even acknowledge the attack until after the American media claimed that it was a terror attack.
And while they are celebrating the shooter’s actions, they are insisting that he was a lone wolf, and that they had no implicit involvement in the attack. Even so, mainstream media capitalized on the shooter’s call to 911 claiming allegiance, and continued to report on the story as if this call backed up the shooter’s motivations.
In reality, the FBI and media’s insistence that this was an act of terrorism has been done specifically to maintain the fear of Islamic terrorism that both keeps the FBI funded and gives the media the ratings that it requires. In fact, the FBI began calling this attack an act of terror without any prior evidence, and outlets such as CNN immediately responded by branding the attack an act of terror even though Reuters confirmed that there was no link between the shooter and the Islamic state, even though the shooter claimed allegiance to it. Despite this public announcement of a link between the shooter and Islamic terrorism, one FBI official has cautioned that any suspected link required further investigation, and three U.S. officials who are familiar with this investigation have said that no connection between the shooter and any Islamic terrorism operations has yet been found.
Along with calling the shooter a lone wolf, ISIS has not offered any evidence that shows that they had any knowledge of the attack prior to it being carried out. As far as personal details are concerned, the shooter was a licensed security guard in the state of Florida who had a gun permit and no previous criminal record. The shooter procured his weapon, a Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic weapon, just last week. Those who knew the shooter did not seem at all surprised by his actions. One of his coworkers, former police officer Daniel Gilroy, called the shooter homophobic, unhinged, and toxic to the local media. He also claimed that his recent departure from the security company he worked for was due to numerous harassing text and phone messages he had received from the eventual shooter.
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) June 12, 2016
The imam of the Islamic Center that the shooter worshiped at insisted that no one is forbidden from worshiping due to their sexual preferences, and that the mosque has no ties to any terrorist organization and in fact speaks out against such organizations at their gatherings. It’s apparent that the shooter specifically targeted the nightclub he attacked because LGBTQ people would be there, and the shooter’s parents also noted that there was an incident where the shooter saw two men kissing in Miami, and that it had affected him very badly. So, while ignoring the shooter’s inherent phobia and capitalizing on supposed ties to Islamic terrorism might drive up viewership and support the old narrative, it simply isn’t true.