Central Florida Muslims gave their blood.
They gave their money.
Plus they resolved to face united in mourning with members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community shaken by Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
“there was never, ever any justification for such unacceptable crimes against humanity, crimes against God, crimes against our country,” said Hassan Shibly, executive director for the Florida branch associated with Council on American-Islamic Relations.
A stream of statements denouncing the attack began flowing from local Muslim groups within hours regarding the rampage, which was carried out by a gunman who’d reportedly declared his support for any Islamic State.
Pulse nightclub shooting
Muhammad Musri, Imam regarding the Islamic Society of Central Florida, speaks at a press conference where police force official gave an update regarding the Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016.
The Islamic leaders used the text like “monstrous,” “appalling,” “brutal” and “senseless” to spell it out the shooting that turned a club swaying with Latin music into a scene of tragedy.
CAIR, the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization, exhorted community members to donate blood for victims of the attack on Pulse, the club where in actuality the shooting took place. Florida Muslims also announced a fund drive at launchgood.com for victims regarding the rampage, which killed a minimum of 50 people and injured dozens more during the nightclub.
Media reports said the gunman, Omar Mateen, had recently become enraged at seeing two gay men kissing in Miami. Investigators were also looking at possible ties to international terrorism.
Mateen reportedly called 911 and pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State moments before he carried out the attack in the nightclub, according to a federal law enforcement official. Mateen, 29, of Port St. Lucie, was killed after a shootout with Orlando police.
Shibly said the LGBT community has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Muslims in the fight against Islamophobia, in which he vowed to return the support.
“the truth is, we both have a similar enemies that promote fear and hate contrary to the U.S. and that have targeted both communities for violent acts,” Shibly said during a midday news conference organized by CAIR.
Standing beside Shibly was Carlos Guillermo Smith, a representative of Equality Florida, an LGBT advocacy group. He later reiterated that the 2 communities are united.
“Let me be clear: Equality Florida stands in solidarity with the Muslim and Islamic community as well as in opposition to the intolerance, discrimination and hate crimes that both of our communities experience,” Smith said.
The Muslim leaders rejected the idea that the gunman’s actions had any experience of true Islam and pointed to champion boxer Muhammad Ali, who died earlier this month, as being representative of the faith.
“we shall not let a demented individual wipe out decades of great work that Muslim communities have inked when you look at the U.S.,” said Atif Fareed for the American Muslim Community Centers.
The shooting’s timing is heavy with significance for the gay and Islamic communities, happening during LGBT Pride month and also the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
The sacred month of Ramadan is a time period of prayer and fasting, aided by the aim of fostering compassion for others, Shibly said.
“Ramadan is per month of creating empathy with your fellow human beings, by being there for the poor, the oppressed, the needy. By feeling the hunger that numerous those who don’t possess drink and food feel,” he said. “It just adds more insult to injury that this horrific crime would happen in such a holy month.”
Also in attendance at the CAIR news conference was Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor at Northland, A Church Distributed.
“There is no location for hatred and violence in just about any healthy religion or in any healthy society,” Hunter said.
Words of sorrow and condolence poured from spiritual leaders all over region on Sunday.
“A sword has pierced one’s heart of your city,” Bishop John Noonan of the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, wrote in an email to your city’s religious leaders.
Noonan is at an out-of-state bishops’ conference but changed his travel plans so he could come back to Orlando to keep a prayer service — he called it a “Vigil to Dry Tears” — at St. James Cathedral in downtown Orlando at 7 p.m.
In other places, wordlessness was truly the only reaction to the violence.
Members of Metro Church in Winter Springs held a second of silence throughout their Sunday services before bowing their heads in prayer when it comes to victims.
“I’m divided in my own spirit because element of me cries out, saying, ‘God, where will you be?'” Metro Church pastor Seth Cain thought to his congregation. “as well … personally i think like it’s these moments that remind me why we’re here and why we’re doing the things we are doing.”