Will misunderstanding of Orlando shootings give #Brexit campaign a xenophobic boost?

Investigators at the scene of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday [Image: Carlo Allegri/Reuters].

Investigators at the scene of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday [Image: Carlo Allegri/Reuters].

The facts are clear: US citizen Omar Mateen entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and shot 50 people dead, while more than 50 others were injured.

The nightclub catered for people who were lesbian, gay, bi- and transsexual, making it a homophobic attack.

But Mateen also phoned 911 and pledged allegiance to Daesh (Islamic State if you like), which had called on sympathisers to carry out terrorist attacks, especially in the United States, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began on June 6.

My fear now is about possible knock-on effects; for example, the EU referendum ‘Leave’ campaign may receive a boost from people who think getting out of the European Union will prevent people who want to commit terror attacks from getting into the UK.

How stupid would that be?

Omar Mateen was a citizen of the United States; he was born in New York.

He was responding to an appeal by the terrorist organisation some people call Islamic State for natives of western countries – particularly the States – to commit terror acts in its name during Ramadan.

And he chose to attack people in the LGBT community because of his own prejudice, it seems.

If a similar attack had taken place in the UK, it would not have been prevented if we had left the EU.

Immigration had nothing to do with it.

Let’s all keep that in mind, at least.

The revelation that the 29-year-old man who opened fire on Sunday in a gay nightclub had dedicated the killing to the Islamic State has prompted a now-familiar question: Was the killer truly acting under orders from the Islamic State, or just seeking publicity and the group’s approval for a personal act of hate?

For the terror planners of the Islamic State, the difference is mostly irrelevant.

Influencing distant attackers to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and then carry out mass murder has become a core part of the group’s propaganda over the past two years. It is a purposeful blurring of the line between operations that are planned and carried out by the terror group’s core fighters and those carried out by its sympathizers.

The attacker, Omar Mateen, told a 911 operator that he was pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. In the group’s nomenclature, that pledge is a central part of the ISIS protocol. The Orlando killing was the third time the loyalty pledge was known to be invoked in the United States.

Source: Was Orlando Shooter Really Acting for ISIS? For ISIS, It’s All the Same – The New York Times


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