The Islamic Homophobia Question
In the hours after Omar Mateen’s June 12 attack on the Orlando, Florida, nightclub Pulse, digital journalists flooded social media with various memes and tweets designed to shut down debate over whether he was motivated by his Islamic beliefs to murder gays and lesbians. Mateen, they said, was simply a closeted gay man whose internalized homophobia caused him to lash out. People came forward—secret lovers, Pulse regulars—to back up the story. Even after 911 transcripts demonstrated that Mateen considered himself a Muslim who was carrying out an attack in the name of Allah and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, plenty of commentators continued to refuse to see a link between the Orlando massacre and Islam. Killers like Omar Mateen aren’t actually real Muslims, they said, because Islam is a religion of peace.