News Release

Orlando Shooting, Queer Thoughts

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See from the British Independent: “Omar Mateen: Ex-wife of Orlando LGBT nightclub gunman says ‘he beat me’“; from Raw Story: “Suspected Orlando shooter was armed guard for security firm G4S“; from Los Angeles Times: “Orlando nightclub gunman remembered as abusive, homophobic and racist“; from Remezcla: “Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History Takes Place at Orlando Gay Club on Latino-Themed Night“; from the Washington Post: “Orlando suspect’s father hosted a TV show and now pretends to be Afghanistan’s president.”

JASBIR K. PUAR, jpuar[at]rci.rutgers.edu
Associate professor of women’s & gender studies at Rutgers University, Puar is author of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. See video of her talk at the American University at Beirut, “Homonationalism Gone Viral: Discipline, Control, and the Affective Politics of Sensation.”

BEAU GROSSCUP, bgrosscup[at]csuchico.edu
Grosscup is author of several books including The Newest Explosions of Terrorism and, most recently, Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment.

JUNAID S. AHMAD, junaidsahmad[at]gmail.com
Currently in Virginia, Ahmad is based in Lahore, Pakistan, where he is director of the Center for Global Dialogue.

He said today: “The Orlando mass shooting is a tragic atrocity that is, at the very least, partially attributable to the multiple fundamentalisms spawned by the political maneuverings of Washington and its ‘moderate’ fundamentalist allies in the Muslim world, particularly Saudi Arabia. While it is still too soon to determine the veracity of the narratives around the shooter’s motives and recent behavior, even if we accept some version of it – it is a tragic amalgamation of the systemic pathologies of our time: fundamentalist-inspired hatred of the ‘other’, in this case homosexuals, and militarized, terrorizing violence, conducted wholesale by states and retail by private, non-state actors. Whether or not mental illness contributed to this shooting, it is incontrovertible that these tragic cases have nothing to do with religion per se, but deeper contemporary processes that have fueled violence at home and abroad, with guns, bombs, and drones that have caused countless, nameless victims, in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, becoming so commonplace.

“In addition, it’s important to remember that while conservative ‘orthodoxies’ in all religions, including in Islam, may be homophobic, Muslim thought, practice and behavior has become much more intolerant of homosexuality because of two principal reasons: a) imposition and importation of Western homophobia since the beginning of Western colonialism, with contemporary Muslim homophobic rhetoric reflecting less of Islamic tradition, and far more of Western Victorian and Protestant Fundamentalist vitriol, and b) Washington’s favorite ally in the Muslim world, Saudi Arabia, advancing a fundamentalist violent contempt for anyone not subscribing to their Wahhabi puritanism. Islamophobic and, indeed, homophobic politicians and pundits in the U.S. will conveniently ignore these two factors when pontificating on yet another example, for them, of ‘Islamic terrorism.'”

Ahmed has also been secretary general of JUST International, the International Movement to Create a Just World. He is on the faculty of advanced studies at the University of Management Technology and on the faculty of law and policy at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.