Orlando Shooting

I woke up this morning to the news that an Afghan-American man committed the largest mass shooting on U.S. soil against the LGBTQ community of Florida. My heart broke imagining that innocent people believed they were having a fun Saturday night in a safe space that is inclusive of their community. Gay clubs serve as places where the LGBTQ can be themselves without judgement.

This happened both during Ramadan, a time when Muslims aim to become better humans, and during Pride, a time when the LGBTQ community can unapologetically be themselves and spread awareness about their community. Both the LGBTQ and Muslim communities suffer hate crimes all the time. This event will divide us, but it is up to all of us as human beings to make sure we stand in solidarity.

Growing up, I was extremely fond of the LGBTQ. My best friends in high school were gay men. I served as president of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Los Angeles Valley College for one semester, and then stepped down, realizing I was not qualified for the role, because I was completely in the dark about the multitude of social injustices the LGBTQ face. I am so distraught that a member of my Afghan-American community could do this to a people that are already treated like crap in every sector of society. I also have family members who are homosexual and my heart breaks that they believe they won’t be accepted by our community.

I am simultaneously afraid of how my community will be perceived when they are already seen as savage terrorists. When we are already stopped and frisked at the airport, when we already hesitate to say what our nationality and religion is.

It makes me sad that both the LGBTQ and the Muslim communities can never wake up, go outside, and unapologetically be themselves, and be accepted with open arms.

It’s even worse, that now a member of one group made it his prerogative to go and oppress the other.

When instead, both groups should be in solidarity with one another, to fight the common political and social structures in place that strip them of their civil liberties every freaking day.

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2 Responses to Orlando Shooting

  1. Amin

    Hi Madinah,

    Don’t you believe this is the issue with all Abrahamic religions. Torah, Bible, and Koran clearly all see gays as people that need to be punished. How do you reconcile being a Muslim, Jew, or Christian when the respective holy book calls for horrific treatment of other humans? It’s one thing when people interpret verses their own way, but horrible treatment of gays is cut and dry in all the books. It’s one of the reasons I see myself as an agnostic. At some point you have to blame the bronze age texts that encourages this bad behavior.

  2. My dear Amin,

    If U blame any holy book — Torah, Bible or Koran — for the suffering inflicted on any community, U may also be willing to praise the same holy book for uplifting any community from misery and oppression.

    A working journalist and editor, now retired at 65 and settled in Pune, India, I was born a Roman Catholic. I became an atheist when I was in my mid-20s. But if U ask me, where did I learn the compassionate value of mercy from, I will answer boldly, “From my dear & close Muslim friends and colleagues in school, college and at the work-place.”

    Yes, it is deplorable that many minority communities are oppressed and suffer because of this or that horrible statement in this or that holy book. But I would urge U to live by the compassion that also permeates all holy books.

    U may still continue “to see yourself as an agnostic”, as I have lived an atheist for the last 40 years.

    But I urge U again: Like Madinah, seek out the good in the holy books and live by it.

    Peace and love,
    – Joseph M. Pinto, Pune, India.
    Email: sangatizuzay@gmail.com

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