In a new op-ed on Tablet, journalist Jamie Kirchick writes that the mass murder in Orlando wasn’t a random display of ‘hate.’ It is an expression of a repugnant political philosophy that targets women, Jews, and gays.
Yesterday’s deadly shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando—in which at least 50 people were killed—is but the latest, and most horrific, episode in the long-running Islamist war on the global LGBT community. Ever since it came to power in parts of Syria and Iraq two years ago, the Islamic State (to which Orlando killer Omar Mateen swore fealty) has lent a cinematographic edge to its murderous hatred of homosexuality, giddily distributing worldwide images of its frequent propulsions of gay men from the rooftops of high buildings. Around the world, homosexuality is punishable by death in 10 countries, nine of which are dominated by Islamists (the exception, Nigeria, has a strong Islamist current). The Orlando massacre was not the first Islamist attack against gays in the United States. In 2014, a man named Ali Muhammad Brown murdered a gay couple in Seattle after luring them into a rendezvous via the hook-up app Grindr. “My mission is vengeance, for the lives, millions of lives are lost every day,” he said in his confession. “All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life.”
Yet while the Islamist war on homosexuality may be unambiguous, many of my gay brothers and sisters have difficulty acknowledging the nature of the threat. Like Jews, we have a natural impulse to sympathize with other minority groups. That’s a laudable instinct. But divorced from reality and an appreciation for nuance, it can become remarkably pigheaded, not to mention suicidal. Particularly when, nearly everywhere it rules, one “minority” group (in the American context) oppresses all others.
In the aftermath of yesterday’s shooting, many gays, following the lead from liberal commentators and political leaders from the president of the United States on down, are trying to diminish Islam as a factor in the killing. Among gays there exists an exculpatory reflex on the issue of Islam, a desire to spread blame evenly among all faiths, or on no faith at all, and pin responsibility upon an amorphous “hate” encompassing everything from the baker refusing service to gay newlyweds to Iranian Mullahs hanging gay teens from construction cranes. Characteristic of this response was a tweet from Sally Kohn, a lesbian Democratic consultant and CNN contributor. “Homophobic, misogynistic, racist extremist hate is the problem,” she wrote. “It is problem in Islam, in Christianity, in Judaism, or any other form.”