Orlando shooter’s father denies he had any ties to radical Islam.
On Sunday, June 12, the United States experienced the worst incident of mass shooting in its history. This tragic event intensified public and political discussion and debate on proposed gun control laws, extremism, Islamophobia, migration and homophobia. Aside from the outpouring of concern towards the victims of the mass shooting, all eyes are now focused on the 29-year-old perpetrator Omar Mateen, who is of Afghan descent.
In a speech, President Barack Obama immediately labeled the attack as an act of terrorism. Investigators also immediately made public the potential links or influences of the Islamic State towards Mateen. Even at the moment of his rampage, Mateen called 911 a couple of times and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Investigators are digging deep down on the attacker’s personal background, from his former job, his former and current wife, his sexuality, state of mind and his father’s negative views, strong opposition to the Afghan government and connections to the Taliban.
In an interview with NBC News, Omar’s father Seddique Mir Mateen stressed that his son’s actions were not in any way related to religion, neither was the younger Mateen been influenced by Islamic extremism. Additionally, the elder Mateen explained why his son called 911 to voice out his connection with ISIS. In the same interview, Mr. Mateen said that his son called 911 just to gain attention: “I think he just wanted to boast of himself. No radicalism, no. He doesn’t have a beard even. I don’t think religion or Islam had anything to do with this.”
Orlando terror attack: shooter's father speaks about his son's ‘horrible act’ https://t.co/v8pbnNGZ1y
— The Guardian (@guardian) June 14, 2016
When asked of his son’s possible motive, the elder Mateen thinks homosexuality is the most probable reason. He cited that there were several instances when his son has been angered after seeing men kissing each other in Miami. This lead has also been probed by investigators. Reports confirm that the shooter has frequented Orlando’s Pulse nightclub (known for its LGBT patrons) prior to his eventual rampage. Omar Mateen was also reported to previously solicit sex or dates with men through a gay dating app.
Another point of interest is his ex-wife’s testimony. According to Sitora Yusifiy, Omar Mateen has problems with his temper and is mentally unstable and physically abusive. She added that the attacker has a history with steroids.
Regardless of media and public opinion, Seddique Mir Mateen sees his son as a loving and a good son. He was living a dignified life with his current wife and child and respected his parents. In the end, the father expressed his apologies to the victims and their families: “We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren't aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock, like the whole country.” He added that “If they’re not ready, I still say to them, ‘I’m sorry,’ I’m saddened for their injury or if they lost their dear one.”