Muslim group urges US mosques to condemn Florida shooting

People gather for a candlelight vigil in remembrance for mass shooting victims in Orlando, from San Diego, California, June 12, 2016. ― Reuters pic
People gather for a candlelight vigil in remembrance for mass shooting victims in Orlando, from San Diego, California, June 12, 2016. ― Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 ― Islamic institutions across the United States should dedicate their Friday sermons this week to the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida, a Los Angeles-based Muslim group said, also reminding Muslims there that Ramadan is a time for love, not hatred and violence.

The group, the Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) headed by Malaysian Ani Zonneveld, said Islam does not advocate hatred or punishment for the LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) community.

“Ramadan is a time of love and empathy and we must remind our congregants that Islam and our Prophet never condoned hate.

“There is not a single example from the life of our beloved Prophet where a man or woman was punished, condemned or even marginalised because of their sexual orientation or gender orientation,” the group said in a statement.

“MPV calls on imams and mosque leadership across the country to address the mass shooting in Orlando at their upcoming Friday sermon during this holy month of Ramadan,” it added.

Yesterday, an armed man, identified as Omar Mateen, 29, a US citizen, allegedly killed 50 people at a packed gay club, making the incident as the worst mass shooting in the nation’s history, according to reports.

Omar, who was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan, was subsequently shot dead by the police.

Law enforcement officials are probing evidence that suggested the attack may have been inspired by Islamic State militants, although they cautioned there was no proof that Mateen had worked directly with the group.

MPV said the shooting demonstrated a clear reason why the American-Muslim community must address homophobia in their midst.

“We must challenge divisive interpretations of Islam that may encourage those like the gunman in Orlando,” the group said, adding that it has been struggling for a decade as a lone voice supporting LGBTQI rights.

Islam is the third largest faith in the US, after Christianity and Judaism.