Photo Credit: Sarah Mirk on Flickr Photo Caption: A vigil for the shooting at Pulse in Portland. Flickr Link:

Who is to blame for the Orlando nightclub attack?

Muslims are instinctively preparing to launch another battle against Islamophobia in the aftermath of one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. A man, reported to have pledged allegiance to ISIS, killed 50 at a gay nightclub in Orlando, and social media is bickering over who’s to blame for the attack, even as the details continue to emerge.

However, blame is relative. We are all to blame.

Blame is on those who say homophobia is solely a Muslim problem, in order to further the cause of Islamophobia rather than recognize America’s historic oppression of LGBTQ people. Because of this, many Muslim women who don the hijab will now be leaving their homes in fear and paranoia in the wake of this tragedy.

Photo Credit:  Sarah Mirk on Flickr Photo Caption: A vigil for the shooting at Pulse in Portland. Flickr Link:
Photo Credit: Sarah Mirk on Flickr
Photo Caption: A vigil for the shooting at Pulse in Portland.
Flickr Link:

Blame is on our political leaders who continue to think gun control is up for debate while Obama gives his 18th presidential address in response to a mass shooting: “This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, in a house of worship, or in a movie theater or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. To actively do nothing is a decision as well.”

Blame is on us who supported, or failed to speak up against, North Carolina’s regressive HB2 “Bathroom” Bill, which banned transgender people from using bathrooms according to their gender identities, serving to exacerbate homophobia and transphobia.

Blame is on us who shamed LGBTQ Muslims and made them unwelcome in their own mosques and communities rather than promoting inclusivity.

Blame is on us who bar LGBTQ people from donating blood to help their own community in Florida, thereby supporting a three-decade-long homophobic and scientifically unfounded FDA policy.

Blame is on us who avoided addressing homosexuality in Islam meaningfully because it is uncomfortable to break long-held taboos surrounding gender and sexuality.

Blame is on us Muslims who felt the need to stress the 50 murdered individuals were also human beings, because being LGBTQ means questioning their self-worth and dignity. Blame is also on us who while condemning the violence purposefully erased the identities of LGBTQ from their statements.

Blame is on Muslim leaders who are scurrying to distance themselves from ISIS, yet fail to address the growth of intolerance and unhealthy conservatism in our communities.

Blame is on us who do not see the beauty in the fact that this year the holy month of Ramadan coincides with LGBTQ Pride month, because love and tolerance for all is Islam.

Blame is on those who will use this opportunity for political capital. Just hours after the shooting, Donald Trump selfishly patted himself on the back on Twitter for “being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”

Blame is on U.S. leaders who selectively celebrate homosexuality as a hallmark of the West in order to ‘other’ Muslim societies and garner support for American-driven interests abroad such as the War on Terror. This violence is entirely made in America.

Blame is on us who do not recognize that this shooting comes at an intersection of many different issues: homophobia, Islamophobia, (political-religious) extremism and gun violence—all issues that transcend religious and political lines.

Blame is on us who do not take the time to reflect on their inner-biases and instead use this attack as an opportunity to pit one vulnerable group against another.

Blame is on us who remain silent, because fear of controversy should never eclipse solidarity.

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  • About the autor
    Hina Tai

    Hina Tai is an associate editor at The Islamic Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @hina_m_tai.

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    • Sam H

      Thank you for this article. You are 100% right. Truth to power! It’s way past time for mainstream Muslims to accept LGBT people as Muslims accept people of different races and backgrounds. Sexuality and gender are varied just like skin color, eye color, hair texture, height, right-or-left handedness, and so on. We don’t make unjust moral judgments about physical traits, and we shouldn’t make moral judgments about being gay or transgender. It’s what’s in your heart that counts, that you treat all people and all of creation with love and kindness.

    • Bleeding Kansas

      Excellent. Finger pointing doesn’t lead to solutions, just to more anger and blame. Change starts within. You pointed out all our biases and reactions. Thank you!

    • Derrick Abdul-Hakim

      Call me old school, but the only person who bears the burden of blame is the person who stockpiled the weaponry with the specific intent to carry out the attack. No one else, apart from potential accomplices, bears blame and no one else deserves our finger pointing.

    • Jekyll

      Is this a tumblr post or a journalistic entry? Practically everyone else is to blame?! This why the muslim community is a laughingstock.

      We now find that he was most likely gay himself, so now his own unique gay identity is responsible too?

      Make no mistake, I utterly condemn this heinous and horrific attack but there is no need to play the fool.

    • Sam H

      I agree that Mateen is ultimately to blame and responsible for his heinous crime, but no one lives and acts in a vacuum. Who taught him that being gay is shameful and disgusting? Who taught him that violence and murder are legitimate means to channel anger and resolve conflicts? Who made weapons of war like assault rifles easily accessible to anyone to buy? Who taught him that Islam justifies denigrating and killing those who don’t accept it? I am reminded of Khalil Gibran’s wise words:

      “Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.

      But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you,

      So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.

      And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,

      So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.

      Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.

      You are the way and the wayfarers.

      And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.

      Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.”

    • Sam H

      Btw, the title of the article on the front page should read, “Who’s To Blame?”, not “Whose To Blame?”. Sorry for being a grammar Nazi 🙂

      • Funny, my spell checker refused to acknowledge Who’s as real grammar at all.

    • No one is saying it’s only a Muslim problem.

      I’m a Libertarian and so I oppose using this as an excuse for Neo-Con foreign policy of closed as much I do using as an excuse for Gun Control

      But I also oppose the Hypocrisy, that if this was a Christian shouting a Bible verse has massacred people it would be many liberals saying us something about that religion.

      It annoys me that people on the left want to ignore that he shouted “Allah Akbar” and act like this is the result of purely Western Homophobia that’s he’d be subject to only because he lived in the West.

      There is a huge chink of this Planet where Islam not Christianity is the privileged religion, and admitting to being Christian and Admitting to being Gay will likely result in the same horrible fate.

      I’m of the opinion that neither The Bible or the Koran condemns Homosexuality, that all of those Homophobia stems from Plato and Augustine. But for people of either faith who’s been raised that way it is absolutely unfortunately part of their faith to hate Gays. We should not be selective on when we consider the religious factor important.

    • Dick Silk

      On the Omnipresence of God:

      #‎PrayForOrlando‬ ‪#‎OrlandoShooting‬ ‪#‎Christ‬ ‪#‎Jesus‬ ‪#‎Islam‬ ‪#‎Muhammad‬ #Islam ‪#‎Christianity‬ ‪#‎Love‬ ‪#‎God‬ ‪#‎3Os‬

      Taken from a dialogue with / comment to two Muslims:

      I have no hatred whatsoever to any Muslim, nor to any ideology or political system (such as Islam) — Why? Because there are three Os in Christianity pertaining to the definition of God’s primary attributes:

      Omnipresent (God is everywhere),

      Omnipotent (God is all-powerful) and

      Omniscience (God is in every thought.)

      This rule set declares there is no person, no thought, nor any object that is not God (to either a greater or lesser degree, be it more enlightened or less.) In the positive vernacular, Everything is God. Every ray of light and every shadow of darkness is God. Analyzing Islam from the perspective of God analyzing God, we easily find the Islamic ideology of death to the kafir / enemy / non-Muslim.

      In ‪#‎Revelations‬ (in the ‪#‎NewTestament‬) there are four horsemen of the ‪#‎apocalypse‬:

      The black horseman represents ‪#‎capitalism‬;

      The red is ‪#‎communism‬;

      The white is ‪#‎Catholicism‬ (or perhaps Christianity — there is a subtle distinction between the two: Christianity includes all Christianity, including Catholicism. Catholicism only includes Catholic Christianity) and

      The “chloros” (Greek for “green”) horseman, which represents Islam.

      Unto this fourth horseman is given the power of death (Revelation 6:8). What does all Life submit to, if not ‪#‎death‬? What is Islam, but “submission”? Therefore, Islam is the religion of death. I have no problem with this — I understand it. What is death but a gateway of transition from the perishable to the imperishable?

      Neither ‪#‎Jew‬ nor any other ‪#‎kafir‬ present a problem to Islam, which is the “submission” of the living unto death, which is the gateway through which mortal becomes immortal. Christianity is the process of helping others to love as much as possible, allowing death to come naturally. In fact, Christianity commands us to love death (one’s ultimate “enemy”) itself. Islam is more of a fast lane to death (to the kafir.) The only problem Islam actually has is the division between the Sunni and the Shia: by declaring each other as enemies, their mutual destruction is assured. This does not bode well for the continuation of the Islamic religion beyond a certain point.

      With death as one’s ultimate enemy, the practice of death to one’s enemy is equivalent to death killing death, which leads to a focused concentration of death. Consider that each man is his own worst enemy: if you practice “kill or enslave your enemy” you must either kill or enslave your own God-given self, including your own death, which results in recursive compression — think of a black hole that traps everything, including light. This helps explain why Middle Easter Islamic societies leave nothing but destruction and stagnation in their wake (re: ISIS, which is a *devout* Islamic political organization) and are forced to emigrate in order to find fresh material.

      If you practice the Christian principle of “love your enemy” you practice the art of loving yourself, which radiates enlightenment to “love your neighbor as thyself.” (This includes loving Jews and all of us kafirs too, by the way.)

      So — either way, you have a gateway to choose: a gateway of darkness (kill your enemy) or a gateway of light (love your enemy.) Either way, the omnipresence of God states that you are divine no matter which direction you choose.

    • D C

      This is all propaganda. Blame is on islamic doctrine and perpetrators who hide behind it, period. The writer of this article [Hina Tai?] uses faulty analogies and strawman arguments to distract from the root cause [islam]. Omar Mateen was trying to commit a shaheed. That’s the surest way of some who adhere to the islamic “faith” to get to the jannah. He could also of saw himself fulfilling Amr Bil Maroof Wa Nahi Anil Munkar.

      Some of us have knowledge of islam. Most of what was posted in the article is not only completely unfounded, but a blatant lie.

      Why did Omar Mateen proclaim he was committing the act for the sake of islam? More than likely, because he wanted muslims to know so he should be praised as a martyr.

      From ‘moderate’ Islamweb site on shaheed [martyrdom]: “Martyrs get a more comfortable, better and great life after martyrdom which is beyond our imagination. Allah says in this concern (what means): {And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allaah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision. Rejoicing in what Allaah has bestowed upon them of His bounty.} [Quran 3:169-170]”

    • mikedatroll

      “We are all to blame.” so gays are to blame? people who support gay rights are to blame?

      this is insane. i can’t even continue reading. you are an idiot.