The events that took place on Sunday, June 12 have left the nation reeling with fear, hatred and sadness. The nation came together in in support of the LGBTQA+ community with such great celerity that it left me beaming with pride and love after the merciless shooting. This tragedy has exposed many people to the truths of the nation, the crux of which would include the leniency of the current gun laws that should be stricter, the nation's fortunate emphasized support of the LGBTQA+ community, the humanization of Muslims by the media (finally) and the distinctive understanding between acts of terror and Islamist radicalism.
As Lin-Manuel Miranda put so eloquently in his Tony's speech, "When senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised. Not one day. This show is proof that history remembers, we live through times when hate and fear seem stronger, we rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer." He goes on to add, "Love is love is love is love is love, and love cannot be killed or swept aside. Fill the world with music, love and pride." Miranda's words express exactly what I'm feeling about this unfortunate incident. My heart and prayers go out to all of those who lost someone in the incident, as well as the LGBTQA+ community who's probably feeling very unsafe after such an event took place. I also extend my heart and my prayers to all the Muslims, such as myself who are suffering the terrible scrutiny and hatred of the world, when we are so undeserving of it.
Yes, I am a Muslim woman, and yes, I do support the LGBTQA+ community with pride. Like Miranda says, I do believe "love is love" and that's the end of it. And like Muslims, the LGBTQA+ community have suffered a long period of unjust judgement. I understand that me and Omar Meeten may have a religion in common, but that doesn't mean it was practiced in the same way. It also doesn't mean that his religion had anything to do with the fact that he massacred people in that nightclub that night.
Omar Meeten, born and raised in New York, was a man who according to many sources, was unstable of mind. Not only was he an abusive man, but he was also a man who was confused about his sexuality and his identity. While ISIS did try to claim credit for his actions, it has been confirmed by Director of FBI Jame Comey that there were no ties between Meeten and ISIS. According to NBC News, Omar was also subject to multiple investigations by the FBI. What baffles me, however, was that with his track record, how could he have access to not only a gun, but an A-15, which was initially designed as a military weapon until it was sold to Colt. Furthermore, the fact that he lived in Florida didn't require him to have a license for the gun itself, but a license for the concealment of weapons. To be honest, I don't even know what to say about that. People are allowed to have guns without licenses AND they can buy a license to conceal the fact that they have guns... If that's not two big steps back, I don't know what is.
I understand that it's a constitutional right to bear arms, I don't oppose that. But I do believe that there should be stricter laws concerning gun control. Since Obama's presidency, there have been 16 - yes, 16 mass shootings - the Orlando shootings being one of the worst. The United States can stop this. The war on terror can be largely inhibited if only to enact stricter gun laws.
It was so great to see my Muslim community come out and support all those who needed blood. In this holy month of Ramadan, people were fasting and giving blood, distributing food and helping out anyone they could, regardless of their sexual identity. That made me beam with pride - the world came together to support a community, setting beliefs, hatred and fear aside to share love and hope. That made me happy, glimpsing the world of the silver lining of fraternity that is emphasized in Islam.
And that brings me to Obama's speech. The reason why Obama addressed the situation as an "act of terror" and didn't use terms like "Islamic extremism" or "radical Islam" is because he believed doing so would, according to NBC News, "grant undeserved religious legitimacy to terrorist movements such as the Islamic State." Because the word Islam would find itself an act itself - it frames the war against terrorism by narrowing its scope, rendering it a war between the West and Islam. Islam, however, is a religion practiced by people all around the world. It is not a state, or a physical entity, but rather a spiritual one. Let me ask you this, would you be able to wage a war against Christianity? No, because that would be absurd. Obama goes on by saying that the United States is not at war with Islam, but rather at war with people who have perverted Islam as a whole. AND I CAN'T TELL HOW MUCH I AGREE WITH THAT AND HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD AS WELL.
Also, just disregard anything that Trump is saying about Muslims. At this point, anything that comes out of his mouth is complete and utter absurdity. Instead of sending respectable prayers to the family members of the victims, or issuing a respectful speech about the incident, he tweets his "I told you so's" and makes the Orlando shooting all about his campaign. Because apparently to him, the small strain of Islamic fundamentalist ideology deem Islam and terrorism as synonymous. How incontestably daft.
Not to waste too much time on a man who doesn't deserve any mention, I would like to once again extend my sincerest condolences to all those who have been affected by this monstrous event. I may not understand your pain, but I surely feel and am aware of it and will do whatever is in my power, as a Muslim woman to help out in any way I can. Do not let yourself fester into the fear spurred on by this torrid event. Stand straight, stand tall and with pride and love in your hearts. You have people who stand beside you, supporting you and ready to defend your rights in this world. I support you, I love you and I am here for you - and so are others.