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JUNE 21 — We members of G25, are outraged at and deplore the cruel and unprovoked murder of 49 innocent lives in an Orlando night club by a twenty-nine year old American Muslim man on 12 June 2016. We wish to express our deepest condolences to the relatives and friends who are grieving the loss of their loved ones. As parents ourselves, we share the great sense of loss of the fathers and mothers who lost their sons and daughters on that terrible night and we can understand how the whole country is reacting with grief and anger to the gruesome tragedy.
We join the whole world in condemning this senseless murder by a Muslim individual. The objectives of his crime remain unclear, but one thing seems certain — that he was inspired by radical groups like ISIS to kill in the name of Islam. There appears to be evidence, yet to be confirmed, based on accounts of people who had known him that he had religious objections against the regular patrons of the nightclub, people with same sex orientation. It is extremely disturbing to see in the social media some Muslims in Malaysia revelling at the murder and justifying it on the ground that homosexuality is forbidden and is a major sin in Islam. We wish to state in the strongest possible way that while Islam/the Quran prohibits homosexuality, the deliberate taking of a human life is something Islam prohibits. This is stated in Ayat 32 of Surah 5 (Al Maidah), the essence of which is encapsulated in the phrase “…and whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind…”. G25 is concerned that statements by Malaysian Muslims supporting the killing of innocent men and women in the nightclub will be interpreted that Malaysian Muslims condone acts of violence, which cannot be justified.
We urge Muslims to abandon their extreme and intolerant attitudes towards people who are of a different sexual orientation, and we also urge them to embrace the universal view that these people are human beings like anyone else, and they have the same feelings as others in wanting freedom to live and lead a peaceful life. They are citizens who have legitimate rights and freedoms provided by the law of the land; in the context of Malaysia, this inalienable right is enshrined in the Federal Constitution. It is therefore the duty of the law to give them the same protection that all citizens are entitled to, against any hostile acts. Muslims who believe in this universal view of justice and human rights will realise it is cruel to celebrate, or even to tolerate or be indifferent to, the wanton killing in Orlando.
It is important for the international Muslim community to speak out clearly against such barbaric acts perpetrated in the name of Islam. They must do so especially under the current situation in Europe and America where racist sentiments and islamophobia are on the rise, and Muslim communities face hostile reactions whenever Islamic extremism strikes at innocent lives with deaths and injuries to those who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The millions of Muslims living in the West will be grateful for the support that they can get from their own kind from all over the world to show that we do not tolerate killing in the name of our religion.
* G25 is a civil society organisation that comprises a group of influential Malays.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.