Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 03 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Martin

Muslims, Christians and Jews Seek Solidarity and Unity After Orlando Attack

Getty Images

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 06/13/16

Details: 

Religious leaders in Central Florida called Monday for interfaith unity and cooperation after a gunman killed 49 people Sunday in the worst mass shooting on U.S. soil. The gunman, Omar Mateen, was a Muslim who was born in the United States but hadpledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, law enforcement officials said. There has been a sharp rise in anti-Muslim attacks across the country over the past year after terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, sparked fear and backlash against the American Muslim community. Rabbi Steven Engel of the Congregation for Reform Judaism, the largest synagogue in Orlando, spoke with Imam Muhammad Masri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, to plan a memorial service for victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre, theForward, a Jewish news site, reported Monday. “(We want) to support each other, to support the whole community,” Masri said outside the club. After each new attack, Muslims in the U.S. have said they fear an increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric, and many Muslims rushed to condemn Sunday’s shooting. Last December, many Republicans urged the U.S. to stop accepting refugees from the Middle East — many of whom are Muslim — after the San Bernardino killings out of a fear that terrorists would sneak into the country amid refugees. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump responded similarly on Sunday, reiterating his previous call to ban all Muslims entering the United States. Masri emphasized that the Orlando shooter was an American and would not be affected by policies like the one proposed by Trump. “He came from two hours away. You can’t put a border to stop someone like this,” Masri said. He added that he did not consider the shooter to be a Muslim, the Forward reported.

Read more.

Pope Francis, meantime, spoke up Monday about the easy availability of weapons in the world:

Pope Francis on Monday lashed out at the “brazen” freedom with which weapons circulate in the world when compared with numerous obstacles to distributing aid. His remarks at a United Nations World Food Program event came one day after the bloodbath in an Orlando nightclub ranked as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Francis told the audience it was a “strange paradox” that aid and food are obstructed by barriers including political decisions and skewed ideology but “weaponry is not.” “It makes no difference where arms come from — they circulate with brazen and virtually absolute freedom in many parts of the world,” the pope said.

And the  gunman’s father expressed his sorrow and regret:

The Orlando gunman’s father publicly apologized for the bloodbath carried out by his son, saying early Monday he doesn’t know what caused the massacre. American-born Omar Mateen, 29, killed at least 49 people at a gay nightclub in Florida before he was shot dead by SWAT officers. Law enforcement sources told NBC News Mateen — who worked as a security guard — swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS moments before the rampage. Sediqque Mir Mateen told NBC News that he hates “terrorism” and “ISIS” — saying that “they should be destroyed.” He added: “I always [was] telling him that … the terrorists and terrorism are the enemy of the whole humanity.” The elder Mateen — who lives in the U.S. and frequently posts videos about politics in his homeland of Afghanistan — apologized for his son’s actions on Monday. “I am really sorry and have expressed this to the people of the United States, especially in this holy month of Ramadan,” Mateen added in the Facebook video. “What he has done has shocked me … I ask God for help and guidance.”

Meantime, read what Tom Hoopes has written about all this and the Christian response on Aleteia’s home page. We have a special responsibility as “People of the Cross” to respond to this tragedy with compassion and love:

In the wake of the tragedy of Orlando, all of us — Longinuses, Magdalenes and Beloved Disciples — have a duty to reach out with kindness, comfort and courage. What is forbidden is to turn our back on the suffering. After all, they are suffering with us.

Photo: Getty Images

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
2
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
3
JEDZENIE
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
4
CARLO ACUTIS
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
5
HIDILYN DIAZ
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
6
ANTENUCCI
Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz
1st Feast of Our Lady of Silence is August 1
7
SIMONE BILES
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
See More