KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 ― Some Malaysians have approved of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 people dead, calling the victims sinners.
The news of the attack, where another 53 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, were carried by local community social media news website Siakap Keli on Facebook, with many ostensibly homophobic Malaysians using the platform to condemn the victims instead of the killer.
“Langsung x sedih pun.....hari2 puluhan saudara islam kami yg kena bunuh sedangkan mereka x bersalah oleh sekutu2 usa xde sapa pun yg nak bela nasib mereka..kenapa plak nak bersimpati kepada pendosa2 ni,” wrote a user named Junaida Nasrin on Siakap Keli’s Facebook post.
(I'm not one bit sad...every day, thousands of our Muslim brethren are murdered by US allies even when they are innocent and nobody tries to help them..why should we sympathise with these sinners).
A man armed with an assault rifle, identified by police as Omar Mateen, shot dead 50 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando yesterday. President Barack Obama has described the incident as an act of terror and hate.
International newswire Reuters reported that the 29-year-old shooter, whom the police killed, was a Florida resident and US citizen born to immigrants from Afghanistan.
Another Facebook user using the pseudonym Kim Typewriter commented on Siakap Keli’s Facebook post: “Semoga yg 53 orang cedera tu tak sempat diselamatkan..dan sesiapa yg menepis kenyataan sy ini..anda pun patut dikecam!”
(I hope the 53 injured will not be saved..and anyone who tries shoot down my statement..you will be censured too!)
Both comments received more than 250 likes.
Conspiracy theories were also aplenty with users claiming that the US government or media were deliberately using the shooting to tarnish the reputation of Islam.
“ni semua wayang US la utk jatuhkan Islam. Asal ade insiden tembak ke letupan ke ugutan ke tebusan ke msti suspek dia nama muslim. Omar mateen la Fernando Ahmad la Kassim Rodriguez la”.
(All this is a US drama to take down Islam. Every time there is a shooting or bombing or threat or hostage situation the suspect is sure to be a muslim. Omar Mateen la Fernando Ahmad la Kassim Rodriguez la).
But amid the scorn, some Malaysians have come out to call for empathy and respect for the victims, saying the homophobic comments would only perpetuate the stereotype that Islam is a hateful religion.
A Facebook user by the name of Nazarul Ideham wrote:
“So this is how Muslims treat others? Gay ke kafir ke lesbian ke yahudi ke Islam ke masih tetap nyawa seorg manusia. Ini yg sepatutnya membezakan Islam dgn agama lain. Kalau kau sdri tunjuk perangai yahudi yg anggap bangsa/kaum lain jijik selain kau,ape beza kau dgn yahudi?”
(Is this how Muslims treat others? Gays or infidels or lesbians or Jews or Muslims ― it is still a human life. This (empathy) is what must differentiate Islam from others. If we ourselves behave like the Jews who deem other races disgusting or inferior, what is the difference between you and the Jews?”
Facebook user Rosman Nizar wrote:
“Membaca komen² di sini... Tak hairanlah Barat & sekutunya terus hidup dibelenggu Islamophobia & ingin terus-terusan Muslim-blaming. We're the reflections of our own selves. 'Religion of peace' will be another buried legend & bedtime story”.
(Reading the comments here..it is no surprise that the West and its allies will continue to be plagued by Islamophobia and Muslim-blaming. We're the reflections of our own selves. “Religion of peace” will be another buried legend & bedtime story).
Homosexuality is forbidden in Islam and in Malaysia, the Islamic authorities have repeatedly demonised the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.