The massacre of 50 people at a gay nightclub in Florida yesterday was the biggest mass shooting in US history. For the global LGBT community in particular, it was a devastating blow.
The attack was a shock to the Arab world too. Following news that the gunman was an Afghan-American who had pledged allegiance to Daesh (ISIS), Arab users took to Twitter to discuss their reactions to the attack. The responses ranged from praise to condemnation, wild conspiracy theories to cautious analysis, and everything in between.
Many Arabic-language Twitter accounts were disgusted at the slaughter. That included those who identified as LGBT and allies, but also states like Saudi Arabia that hardly have a glittering record of celebrating diverse sexuality.
#تفجير_اورلاندو— S3. (@sbm0_) 12 June 2016
اتعجب من المبسوطين لقتل أبرياء لمجرد انهم مختلفين عنهم، هل انتوا بشر؟
I wonder about the people who are happy about the killing of innocents just because they’re different, are you even humans?
الإدانة الصريحة و الواضحة واجبة في حق مقتل كل نفس #تفجير_اورلاندو— د. أنور قرقاش (@AnwarGargash) 12 June 2016
Condemnation is clear, explicit, and necessary in the killing of anyone.
Some praised the attacks and the fact that they targeted the U.S. gay community– providing examples of homophobia that many of those condemning the attacks also criticised (and blamed on other forces).
Daesh, manufactured by Zionists, does not represent Muslims or Islam.
Accompanying pictures are of people on twitter celebrating. Highlights: “Why didn’t you finish it? The explosion in the nightclub on gay night killed half of them, thanks be to God, that was enough for you ya Afghani."
The conversation was additionally full of speculation about what caused the attack. Some argued against the idea that Islam was to blame for the violence, while others stressed the links between the shooter’s religious background and his religious faith.
اذا عرف السبب بطل العجب— علماني مصري (@Human_Secular) 13 June 2016
كان في شيخ مسلم بيعطي محاضرات من كام اسبوع في ولاية اورلاندو انه يجب التخلص من المثليين pic.twitter.com/8i45KVhoob
When the reason is known the wonder ceases.
There was a Muslim sheikh giving lectures a couple weeks ago in the State of Orlando [sic] saying that homosexuals need to be killed.
استئصال هذا الورم الخبيث عالمياً هو الحل. الإرهاب الإسلاموي عار على الأرض! نحمد الله ألا مناصحة لديهم. #مجزرة_أورلاندو.— Jaafar Aljamri (@JAljamry) 12 June 2016
Eradicating this malignant tumor entirely is the solution. Islamic terrorism is a shame upon the earth. We thank God, except for where these people get their ideas from.
Analysis of the causes behind the shooting also brought out some more creative thinking and users speculated about the supposed dark and unseen forces that might have come together to manifest the tragedy.
أن يحدث هذا الهجوم في أمريكا بعد زخم هائل وغير مسبوق رافق جنازة محمد علي وامتلأ بالدفاع عن المسلمين ومناهضة "الإسلام فوبيا"— حامد العلي (@Hamed_Alali) 13 June 2016
المسألة فيها إنّ
These attacks happen in America at a time of tremendous and unprecedented momentum, accompanied by the funeral of Muhammad Ali and filled with defense of Muslims and pushback against “Islamophobia”.
There’s something fishy about this.
إبحث عن المستفيدمن الحدث لتعرف من الذي وراءه— د. عوض القرني (@awadalqarni) 12 June 2016
إنه اليمين المتطرف لدعم مرشحه المتوحش"ترامب"ولمزيدمن المذابح والكوارث للمسلمين
Look for the ones who benefit to learn who’s behind it - That’s the the extremist right in order to support the monstrous candidate “Trump” and to increase disasters and massacres against Muslims.
Comparisons were also drawn with the backdrop of war and violence in the Arab world, and some argued that the tragedy was unimportant compared to the scale of the suffering in the Middle East. The day of the shooting, at least 39 people were killed by regime and Russian warplanes in the Syrian province of Idlib.
Our youth and children have died in Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Yemen, and Iraq and not a single tear was shed for them. After that we’re crying over gays?
Neither did tweeters miss the fact that the nature of the tragedy might inspire some conflicted feelings in particular forums.
Picture: “50 killed and 53 injured in gay nightclub in the USA … Brace yourself … God bless the heroic martyr who fought the gays in America, may his soul rest in Paradise. But also this is a conspiracy by Trump to win in the elections and distort the view of Islam … Posts are coming”
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