Friday, June 17, 2016
DAY 06 OF THE 49 KILLED WORST MASS SHOOTING AND 2ND WORST TERRORIST ATTACK IN AMERICAS HISTORY.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
OTHER WORST HISTORY TERRORIST ORLANDO STORIES
CITY OF ORLANDO
VICTIM NAME WEBSITE
ORLANDO, Fla. - While his victims texted heartbreaking last words to loved ones from the blood-drenched bathrooms, Omar Mateen apparently went on Facebook to measure the shockwaves his attack on a gay nightclub was generating.He searched for the terms "Pulse Orlando" and "Shooting," according to a letter released by a Senate committee.The letter detailing Mateen's Facebook posts and searches in the final hours of his life came to light as grief-stricken Orlando prepared to bury the first of the 49 dead and awaited a visit Thursday from President Barack Obama, who planned to meet with victims' families, doctors and paramedics and offer words of solace.Investigators, meanwhile, are trying to reconstruct Mateen's movements before the rampage at the Pulse dance club and are taking a close look at his 30-year-old Palestinian-American wife, Noor Salman, and what she may have known about the attack."The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west," Mateen, a 29-year-old American-born Muslim, wrote on one of at least five Facebook accounts believed to be associated with him, according to the letter from Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.The committee sent the letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking for help uncovering the trail of hate Mateen left behind in cyberspace. Johnson did not explain how the committee obtained the information about Mateen's Facebook activity.According to the letter, Mateen made his series of Facebook posts and searches before and during the attack. The letter did not specify what took place when. But a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly said the Facebook posts came moments before the attack began."America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state," Mateen wrote, according to the letter.As he did in his call to a 911 operator during the massacre, Mateen pledged his allegiance on Facebook to the leader of the Islamic State group and, in his final post, warned: "in the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic state in the usa."The Obama administration has said it has seen no evidence that Mateen was directed by the Islamic State.A spokesman for the FBI did not return a call for comment, and Facebook had no immediate comment.The three-hour rampage began at 2 a.m. and ended three hours later with Mateen being killed by a police SWAT team. The FBI said it is still gathering evidence at Pulse and analyzing cellphone location data to piece together Mateen's activities leading up to the massacre.On Saturday night, hours before the rampage, Mateen visited Disney Springs, an outdoor restaurant, retail and entertainment complex at Walt Disney World, an official who was briefed on the case but insisted on anonymity to discuss the continuing investigation told The Associated Press.The official said it is not clear what Mateen was up to.Mateen's wife has gone into seclusion. U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley repeatedly refused on Wednesday to say whether charges might be brought against her or anyone else.___Tucker reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jack Gillum in Washington; Michael R. Sisak in Philadelphia; Jay Reeves, Allen G. Breed and Tamara Lush in Orlando; and Holbrook Mohr in Port St. Lucie, Florida; and Brandon Bailey in San Francisco contributed to this report.___This story has been corrected to show that the last name of Facebook's CEO is Zuckerberg, not Zuckerburg.
Orlando families to bury victims, ask Obama for change-[Reuters]-By Bernie Woodall-June 17, 2016-YAHOONEWS
ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - Families of some of the 49 people killed in a massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub will mourn and bury their dead on Friday, a day after President Barack Obama met survivors and said the United States must act to control gun violence.Funerals are expected to be held over the next two weeks.Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25, like many of the victims of the Pulse club mass shooting, was from Puerto Rico. He is to be buried on Friday, according to the Newcomer Funeral Home, a day after more than 150 friends and family mourned him at a wake.Obama, who traveled to Orlando on Thursday and met survivors and families of those who died, told reporters: "I held and hugged grieving family members and parents, and they asked, 'Why does this keep happening?'."He urged Congress to pass measures to make it harder to legally acquire high-powered weapons like the semi-automatic rifle used in the attack on Sunday.Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were in Orlando after a U.S.-born gunman claiming allegiance to various Islamist militant groups carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.During the shooting rampage the gunman, Omar Mateen, exchanged text messages with his wife, CNN reported on Thursday, as well as posting on Facebook and placing a phone call to a television station. Police killed Mateen, 29, a U.S. citizen born in New York to Afghan immigrants.Obama, who has visited mass shooting victims' families in towns from San Bernardino, California, to Newtown, Connecticut, since becoming president, laid flowers at a memorial for the victims of the attack on the Pulse nightclub.Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack but U.S. officials have said they do not believe Mateen was assisted from abroad. A married couple also claiming allegiance to Islamic State shot dead 14 people in San Bernardino, California, in December.-BEFORE THE MADNESS-On Thursday, more than 300 people, including Florida Governor Rick Scott, attended the viewing for Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, who was born in Dorado, Puerto Rico. He was 36 when he was killed during a night of dancing to celebrate a friend's new house. His husband had stayed home that night in the couple's apartment."He was in a Snapchat video that's out there, dancing away, so we know he had some fun before the madness," said his cousin, Orlando Gonzalez.Twenty-three of the 53 wounded remained hospitalized, six in critical condition, according to the Orlando Regional Medical Center.CNN reported, citing a law enforcement official it did not identify, that Mateen exchanged text messages with his wife, Noor Salman, during the three hours he was holed up in a bathroom inside the nightclub. Salman is under investigation to find out whether she knew about Mateen's plans ahead of time.-CONGRESS UNDER PRESSURE-The massacre put pressure on Congress to act.Mateen carried out the slaughter with an assault weapon and handgun that had been legally purchased although he had twice been investigated by the FBI for possible connections with militant Islamist groups.Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said the chamber would most likely vote on four gun control measures on Monday.However, no formal deal between the parties for votes was announced, and it was unclear when and how the Senate would proceed with the votes, which would be amendments to an appropriations bill funding the Commerce and Justice departments.Republicans, who hold a 54-person majority in the 100-seat Senate, have blocked a number of Democratic-backed gun control measures over the years, saying they infringed on Americans' constitutional right to bear arms.(Additional reporting by Julia Harte and Peter Eisler in Orlando, Patricia Zengerle and Jonathan Landay in Washington and Zachary Fagenson in West Palm Beach, Florida; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
Hidden camera video shows Orlando gunman Omar Mateen in 2010-[Jason Sickles]-June 15, 2016-YAHOONEWS
Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen was once captured on hidden camera spewing disgruntled opinions while working as a security guard during the 2010 BP oil spill cleanup.The footage showing Mateen was republished Wednesday in a video news story by the Wall Street Journal.Mateen died early Sunday during a shootout with police after opening fire on a crowded gay nightclub near downtown Orlando. One hundred people were shot, 49 of them fatally.The 2012 documentary, called “The Big Fix,” examines the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. In the video, Mateen is seen talking to an undercover producer seeking access to the cleanup site. Mateen informs the woman that there is no one available to speak with. Nor, he says, does anyone care about her concerns.“No one gives a s*** here,” he says in the documentary. “Everybody’s just out to get paid. They’re like hoping for more oil to come out and more people to complain so they’ll have jobs. They want more disaster to happen.”G4S Secure Solutions confirmed that the man on the video is Mateen, the WSJ reports. Mateen had worked for the security company (formerly Wackenhut) since 2007.
Muslim view of LGBT people in spotlight after Orlando attack-[The Canadian Press]-Rachel Zoll And Deepti Hajela, The Associated Press-June 16, 2016-YAHOONEWS
NEW YORK, N.Y. - After the massacre in Orlando, the head of a prominent Muslim advocacy group stood before a bank of microphones and made remarks beyond the expected condemnations.Along with denouncing the attack by gunman Omar Mateen as a violation of Islam, and offering prayers for the victims at the gay nightclub Pulse, Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations expressed unequivocal support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights."For many years, members of the (LGBT) community have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community against any acts of hate crimes, Islamophobia, marginalization and discrimination. Today, we stand with them, shoulder to shoulder," Awad said at a Washington news conference. "We cannot fight injustice against some group and not against others."Omid Safi, director of the Duke University Islamic Studies Center, called the comments, and similar statements from other major Muslim groups, a "shocking development" from leaders who until last Sunday's tragedy "would probably have never been seen uttering the words gay and lesbian publicly."The mass shooting, perpetrated by an American Muslim in a communal space for gays, has brought to the forefront Muslim attitudes toward homosexuality and the plight of LGBT Muslims.A spokesman for Awad played down the director's remarks as nothing new. But Faisal Alam, who is gay and a founder of the support and advocacy group Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, said such comments have opened "a historic opportunity for us to talk to one another."Eman Abdelhadi, a doctoral student at New York University who came out in college, said the attention could provide some much-needed visibility for LGBT Muslims who are "often erased.""The vast majority of American Muslims are illiterate as it relates to queer issues," said Ahmed Younis, an author who specializes in Islamic law and advocates acceptance of gays and equal treatment for women. He said he hoped for some real soul-searching beyond expressions of solidarity toward fully integrating gays and lesbians into Muslim life.LGBT Muslims said the shooting sparked a complex set of emotions. They were devastated for their fellow gays and lesbians, while deeply concerned about anti-Muslim bias the shooting would generate. At the same time, they were caught at the intersection of two mutually wary groups: LGBT people who consider Islam uniquely anti-gay, and Muslims prejudiced against gays and lesbians.Abdelhadi said she feared "Islam and queerness being pitted against each other in a sort of battle and that just making it impossible for me to exist as I am."The day after the shooting, more than 50 LGBT advocacy groups made an appeal for the gay community to reject anti-Muslim rhetoric. "We know what it looks like and feels like to be scapegoated and isolated in the midst of a crisis," the groups said.But Younis said the relationship between Muslims and LGBT advocates "is not a natural or deep alliance."Many U.S. Muslim immigrants come from countries and cultures where gays are often violently persecuted, and harbour a deep antipathy toward LGBT people. But younger generations of American Muslims generally don't share these views, Younis said.Last year, after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, author Reza Aslan and actor Hasan Minhaj published a letter to "our fellow American Muslims," urging them to support civil rights for gays, even if Muslims are uncomfortable with, or outright opposed to, same-gender relationships."Rejecting the right to same-sex marriage, but then expecting empathy for our community's struggle, is hypocritical," Aslan and Minhaj wrote on ReligionDispatches.org. "We have to fight for the right of others to live their lives as freely as we want to live ours."A survey last year by the Public Religion Research Institute found four in 10 U.S. Muslims support same-sex marriage — compared with 53 per cent of all Americans who said the same. About two-thirds of Muslims in the survey favoured civil rights protections for LGBT people in jobs, housing and public accommodations, compared to seven in 10 of all Americans.Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle, an Emory University professor and author of "Homosexuality in Islam: Critical Reflection on Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Muslims," said he first began writing about LGBT issues and Islam 14 years ago.At the time, he said Muslims generally rejected or ignored his work challenging the overwhelming Islamic consensus that same-gender sex is to be condemned. But over the years, Kugle has noted a growing openness in the U.S. and elsewhere to discussing the topic. He sees evidence of this shift in the new films, books, articles and blogs about gay Muslims.The Duke Islamic Studies Center is in the midst of a year-long project examining Islam and sexuality, including same-sex relationships, part of a wider scholarly re-examination of Muslim teachings on the subject, according to Safi. The research is mostly occurring in the West, but Muslims from South Africa, Malaysia and other countries participate in the work."So many Muslims — especially professionals, university students, and families dealing with LGBT issues — are searching for alternative ways of practicing Islam that are inclusive and just. Muslim leaders are lagging behind in this," Kugle said.LGBT Muslims are more easily connecting with each other through the internet, Alam said. Gay and lesbian Muslims have formed local organizations in six cities, Alam said, along with some informal support networks, and hold an annual retreat. Still, these meetings remain largely private, a reflection of the continued difficulty of being openly gay in their communities. Several colleges now have Islamic chaplains, another source of support for young gay Muslims.LGBT Muslims and their allies are also creating prayer spaces that welcome all sexual identities. Among them are Unity Mosques, which began in 2009 in Toronto, that include mixed-gender prayer and women-led services, although the sites sometimes struggle to stay open, said El-Farouk Khaki, an immigration lawyer based in Toronto and founder of Salaam: Queer Muslim Community.Imam Daayiee Abdullah, who works from the Washington area and leads the Mecca Institute, which offers Islamic courses from a progressive viewpoint, said he was ostracized by other Muslims when he came out as gay 20 years ago and was "not necessarily considered Muslim." But in the last decade or so, he has noticed a growing receptiveness among American Muslims to at least listen to his arguments for acceptance.Alam, who travels the country speaking to college students about being gay and Muslim, said coming out is still "an incredibly risky proposition" for many. He did so at age 19, to parents he said are "more tolerant than they are accepting." He said he's encouraged by the statements from many Muslim leaders after the attack in Orlando, but he hopes it's more than lip service."I think there's a sense within the community of 'Is this too good to be true?' What does this really mean that they stand with us? Is it theological acceptance? Is it just that we won't stand in the way of LGBT rights in this country?" Alam said. "Those are the nuances that definitely have to be worked out."
In Afghan-American community, attack elicits horror, sorrow-[The Canadian Press]-Kristin J. Bender, The Associated Press-June 15, 2016-YAHOONEWS
FREMONT, Calif. - In this Northern California city where people can buy prayer flags at the dollar store, fresh-baked Afghan bread at corner markets and feast on beef kabobs in "little Kabul's" many restaurants, Afghan-Americans are angry.Fremont, about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco, is a bedroom city of 220,000 people with a thriving waterpark, leafy streets and a public lake. It is also home to the largest population of Afghan-Americans in the country.With news that an attack on an Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub left 49 people dead and gunman Omar Mateen was born to Afghan immigrant parents, those in the community are expressing horror, sorrow and disbelief that one of their own could commit the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history."Every single Afghan feels really horrible because so many innocent people were killed by a mad guy," said Waheed Momand, president of the Afghan Coalition, the largest non-profit advocating for Afghan people in the U.S.It was a tragedy that brought Momand back 15 years, when the community realized the Sept. 11 terror attacks were orchestrated by al-Qaida in Afghanistan.In last weekend's shooting, Mateen's motivations were not yet clear. Despite pledging support to the Islamic State group in a 911 call during the attack, other possible explanations could be mental illness and shame about his own sexuality, a divisive subject among a Muslim community that often shuns gays."What motivated him doesn't matter — it's wrong and it's very close to our hearts. We feel sorry for the victims, and we feel sorry for the pain of their families and their loved ones. The fact that this guy was from Afghan origin makes it even worse for us," Momand said.Federal authorities are investigating whether Mateen regularly went to the nightclub he attacked and had used gay dating apps.Bilal Miskeenyar, a 29-year-old musician from Fremont, believes the shooter was motivated by hatred, saying it's anathema to Muslim and Afghan views."Whether it was anti-homosexual or not, my religion, my people and my culture does not believe in such things," he said. "I think it was hateful, and I think it was a very hideous crime, and I think people should not judge (Afghan people) because of one bad apple."From the markets with handmade meat kabobs to the stores stocked with traditional Afghan candies and nuts, some Afghan-Americans in Fremont say they don't believe there will be a backlash against their community because of Mateen's actions."I have American customers, Mexican customers, Chinese customers, and everybody likes me," said Sardar Ghuss, a clerk at the Little Kabul Market. "I don't have any problems. We all work together."But at the Maiwand Market, where fresh bread comes out of the oven throughout the day, Mojgan Mohammad Parwes said she felt some fear Monday."I was a little hesitant coming here today," said the 36-year-old mother of three who wears a hijab. "People are angry, and it's understandable."What's more, those in her community are heartbroken, she said."They're very distraught," Parwes said. "Emotionally, they are not doing well."Behind the market's counter Monday, it was business as usual for Kais Karimi, a 33-year-old clerk at his family's business. But his emotions were running high."I feel terrible. Human lives are being lost regardless of age, religion, sexual orientation or anything like that," Karimi said. "It's just sad that people are dying over the way that they think. Everybody has the right to live however they want and they should be left alone."In the wake of Sunday's shooting, Afghan Coalition members are meeting this week to plan an interfaith vigil or service, like they did after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.Momand, the group's president, remembers its effect on the U.S. Afghan community."Right after I found out the attack was organized from Afghanistan by al-Qaida, honestly it was one of the darkest days," he said. "Firstly, because so many people were killed that day, and second, it was coming from Afghanistan."But 15 years later, he thinks most people understand that Afghan-Americans are just like everyone else, and they condemn terror just like everybody else."(Terrorism) is not the human way, it's not the American way, it's not the Afghan way and it's not the Muslim way," Momand said.
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