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The Orlando Attack and ISIS' Attitude toward Homosexuality

Jun 23, 2016

A few days after the Orlando shooting, jihadist writers started publishing articles on social media, where they called on Muslims around the world, particularly in the West, to go out and attack civilian targets. One of the writers, Al-Hur al-Balkani, affiliated with ISIS, published an article on June 14, titled “The Raid of the Commando Fighter on the Apostate Gay People.” Al-Balkani praised Omar Mateen – without mentioning his name - for giving up his comfortable life and family in the U.S. and for sacrificing everything to serve Allah and kill "the descendants of the people of Lot." He then writes that the shooter is now laughing with the Houris and Allah is pleased with him. “There is no doubt,” he continues, that Mateen, “who frightened the infidels and rubbed the nose of America in the dirt, was granted the blessing of Allah when he entered a crowd of 300 people, and succeeded in killing 50 of them.” The writer calls to his “brother in the West,” asking him to take his weapon, leave his house and go and kill as many as he can without surrendering. He promises heaven and the satisfaction of Allah to those who act.

There is no indication that IS directed Omar Mateen to conduct an attack against homosexuals, albeit in recent years, they have been targeted by IS in Iraq and Syria, also by other jihadist groups. Videos by IS media branches showing brutal executions of those convicted of homosexuality are also common in the group's propaganda. In addition, jihadist writers affiliated with IS dedicate many of their writings to condemning homosexuality, and they have a proclivity to blame the U.S. as a source for this “perversion." It is still unclear to what extent Mateen was inspired by such propaganda. However, as already evidenced, the attack he committed is likely to lead to an increase in the appearance of anti-gay propaganda in IS publications, and may inspire additional IS followers to focus on attacking gay communities in the U.S. and beyond.  

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Article picture from the al-Battar Media Foundation