Muslim Community Talking Points
Orlando Shooting Tragedy
Prepared by: Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County
Our Shared Sadness
The Muslim community is heartbroken at the horrifying events that have occurred in Orlando, Florida this past weekend. We cannot express in words the depths of our outrage as a community. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Community leaders from all walks of life will take part in an event on Monday June 13 to show solidarity with one another in Montgomery County, Maryland. Please read our Joint Media Event Advisory for more details.
In the face of this utterly horrific tragedy, the Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County has assembled the following talking points for Muslim community leaders.
1. The Shooter was deranged and unstable.
a. Omar Mateen, 29 years old, was divorced and with good reason: his ex-wife described him as “mentally ill and mentally unstable.” She divorced him because he was physically abusive.
b. Mateen’s father described him as hateful towards members of the LGBTQ community.
c. Mateen’s classmates and colleagues described him as “aggressive”.
d. Mateen’s ex-wife further state that he was irreligious.
2. This isn’t about terrorism, it’s about gun violence.
a. Every Day on Average (all ages) 297 people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides & suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, and police intervention. (source: bradycampaign.org)
b. Every day, 89 people die from gun violence: 31 are murdered. (source: bradycampaign.org)
c. Chart 1: Number of Deaths by Mass Shootings in 2016:
d. Guns by country: The country with the most number of guns per capita after America is Yemen, which is in the middle of a civil war and home to multiple armed militant groups:
e. The number of American deaths by terrorism over the past decade is dwarfed by the number of deaths by domestic gun violence:
3. Islam has never endorsed killing people because we disagree with them or their lifestyles.
a. Islam teaches us that to take a single life is to have killed the world, and to save a single life is to have saved the entirety of the world.
b. Across the country, Muslim community leaders and congregation leaders (“Imams”) have issued statements and edicts forbidding violence and condemning extremism.
c. Muslim Americans uphold the constitution, and moreover just last week we laid to rest the people’s champion, Muhammad Ali, a Muslim American leader who exemplified tolerance and a commitment to non-violence as an Islamic religious tenet.
d. The Quran teaches us to agree to disagree with those we do not agree with, and to greet even those who wish us harm with peace, as the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did throughout his life.
4. Within hours of the shooting, every major Muslim organization in America from every sect of Islam not only condemned the mass shooting, but reached out with prayers to the LGBTQ community.
a. Sunni, Shiite and Ahmediyya organizations all immediately condemned the mass shooting in Orlando.
b. CAIR, MPAC, ICNA. ISNA and many others have issued statements condemning the shooting attacks, and offering support to the victims and their families.
c. Montgomery County’s Muslim community issued a joint statement with LGBTQ community leaders condemning Saturday night’s violence and calling for solidarity.
d. A Solidarity Iftar will be preceded by speakers from the Muslim and LBGTQ communities on June 13, 2016 in Montgomery, Maryland. Please contact Hamza@HamzaKhan.me for details.
5. America is about living together and agreeing to disagree.
a. When America’s constitution was written, detail was paid in the Bill of Rights to protecting the rights of minorities—be they social, religious, or otherwise. In other words, our country was founded with the understanding that all Americans are free to practice their way of life without molestation. The Muslim and LGBTQ communities have both striven to protect one another’s constitutional rights for many years.
b. Islam as a faith has a strong religious tradition of live and let live, as well as protecting the rights of others—especially those we might disagree with on any number of matters. The true state of being a good Muslim is to be a compassionate citizen of one’s society.
6. Muslim Americans have in place rigorous anti-terror and anti-radicalization programs
a. To re-emphasize: Saturday night’s attacks were not about terror, but about a deranged person committing a horrific act of gun violence. That being said, Muslim Americans are on the forefront of combatting extremism and terrorism, especially here in Montgomery County, MD:
b. WORDE – the World Organization for Research and Development launched the Montgomery County BRAVE Model some years ago. The Montgomery County BRAVE Model has a core focus on generating public awareness about the risk factors of violent extremism, and empowering the appropriate figures to intervene with vulnerable individuals before they choose a path of violence. The model is now evidence-based and has an undergone an independent, scientific evaluation. To learn more, visit: http://www.worde.org/programs/the-montgomery-county-model/
c. MPAC launched the SafeSpaces project some years ago that focuses on empowering communities in order to secure the sanctity of the mosque and Muslim communities in promoting Islamic values of civic engagement, public safety and healthy identity formation. To learn more, visit: http://www.mpac.org/safespaces/