On June 4, just eight days before the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting carried out by Omar Mateen, the Orlando Sentinel published a piece titled: "Pulse gunman's motive: Plenty of theories, but few answers."
Throughout the piece, they note Mateen's ties to radical Islam, however, they act as though such ties are peripheral to his motives.
Here are several pertinent quotes:
1. But there’s still no evidence that the Pulse killer intended to target gay people. A year after the massacre, the only confirmed motive is the shooter’s statements to 911 operators and hostage negotiators. He told them he pledged allegiance to ISIS and wanted people to know the pain that Syrians and Iraqis felt...
2. People who knew Mateen reported, sometimes to authorities, that he was violent and bigoted. Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, told reporters after the attack that his son was angered when seeing two gay men kissing in Miami...
3. Clues about the killer’s motive have come out in bond hearings for Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman...According to prosecutors, Salman told investigators that her husband asked her, “What would make people more upset, an attack on downtown Disney or a club?”
The piece does quote Robert Spencer, author and writer for Jihad Watch, who said that all the talk of Mateen being gay is simply a smokescreen to avoid talk of radical Islam:
"If Mateen was gay, which is completely hypothetical and bereft of evidence, he could possibly have been aware of sinning before Allah and knew that he could outweigh all his sins by one great act of jihad,” Spencer said. “In other words, if he was gay, this wouldn’t necessarily mean that his murders weren’t motivated by Islam’s doctrine of jihad."
Of course, the Sentinel counters Spencer's speculation with testimony from a psychologist, who suggested Mateen's murderous expression was unusual because closeted individuals usually "suffer in silence."
The overall message of the piece suggests one of two things. One, Omar Mateen was a self-hating homosexual; or two, he didn't intentionally target gay people. Both cannot be simultaneously true, and in the end, as Spencer noted, it doesn't much matter. This speculation is simply a massive puff of smoke because the progressive media is terrified to talk about Mateen's obvious motive.
Shortly after the Pulse shooting, The Washington Post profiled Mateen as a very troubled, angry, and conflicted individual, who became very excited on 9/11:
On the morning of the 9/11 attacks, one former classmate recalled a teacher turning on a television and the students watching as the second plane hit. “[Mateen] was smiling. It was almost like surreal how happy he was about what had happened to us,” said the former classmate...
After watching the second tower get hit on a classroom TV, Mateen stood up and claimed that Osama bin Laden was his uncle, said the classmate, whose account was corroborated by others.
“Back then, we didn’t even really know who Osama bin Laden was,” he said. “But he talked about shooting AK-47s. . . . He said he shot them and his uncle taught him how to shoot them.”
ABC News reports that "according to officials in the FBI’s counterterrorism division," Mateen posted the following to Facebook just prior to his attack: "You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance...In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic State in the usa."
Additionally: "FBI officials also said that in the days leading up to the attack, Omar Mateen searched online for a speech by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi..."
Mateen also declared his allegiance to the Islamic State during a 911 phone call.
So here we are — Omar Mateen was a Muslim man who was apparently bullied in school, was deeply troubled, and who may or may not have been gay. He was a 9/11 and Osama bin Laden fan, he looked up a speech by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, posted to Facebook that Americans would "taste the Islamic state vengeance," and pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Mateen then set out to murder as many Americans as possible in a terror attack.
Nobody does anything for one reason; that's not how humans work. However, the media continues to focus on periphery behaviors and circumstances in order to explain Mateen's motive, while the primary inducement is plainly obvious. They are afraid to say that Mateen killed 49 people because he fetishized radical Islam, and the punishment for homosexuality in radical Muslim belief is death.
Why is the media afraid? Because to criticize radical Islam is to criticize Islam itself, and therefore a religion the adherents to which number 1.8 billion.
How does one define the term "Radical Islam"? The definition can be found in the men and women who have carried out attacks against the United States, the U.K., Germany, France, Israel, and numerous middle eastern nations. These men and women proclaim the Quran as their justification.
These individuals follow the more violent Quranic verses, like Surah 9:5, which states: "And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful," and Surah 8:12, which states: "I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip."
Radical Muslims believe these verses substitute earlier verses that called for peace through a process known as "abrogation," in which certain verses can be augmented or even fully replaced with later verses.
Surah 2:106, the primary verse that advocates abrogation, reads: "Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?"
Robert Spencer writes:
Many traditional Islamic theologians and Qur’an commentators argue that violent material, such as sura 9, abrogates more relatively tolerant material such as sura 109. This is not a newly-minted view “cherry-picked” by Osama bin Laden; it is in fact a very ancient view. When discussing why Muhammad didn’t begin sura 9 with the customary invocation bismillah ar-rahman ar-rahim, “in the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful,” an intriguing answer comes from a Qur’an commentary that is still highly valued today in the Islamic world, Tafsir al-Jalalayn. This is a fifteenth-century work by the renowned imams Jalal al-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Mahalli (1389-1459) and Jalal al-Din Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr al-Suyuti (1445-1505). The invocation, suggests this tafsir, “is security, and [Sura 9] was sent down when security was removed by the sword.”
Security’s removal by the sword meant specifically the end of many treaties the Muslims had made with non-Muslims. Another still-influential Qur’an commentator, Ibn Kathir (1301-1372) quotes an earlier authority, Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim, to establish that the Verse of the Sword, sura 9:5 (“slay the unbelievers wherever you find them”) “abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater, every treaty, and every term.” He adds from another authority: “No idolater had any more treaty or promise of safety ever since Surah Bara”ah was revealed.” And yet another early commentator, Ibn Juzayy (d. 1340) agrees that one of this verse’s functions is “abrogating every peace treaty in the Qur’an.”
As former-Muslim and human rights activist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, said: "Islam is not a religion of peace, but it can become a religion of peace."
Indeed, radical Muslims adhere to a particular interpretation of the Quran in which they follow the abrogated verses calling for jihad (generally the Medina verses, which came after Mecca). There are even many sects within Islam that believe other sects are infidels even worse than non-believers because their exegesis of the Quran is different.
Reformers like Ali are trying to make the case that Islam can be saved, but to make that case, one must first acknowledge that it is in need of saving. The progressive media will not do such a thing because it would shatter their entire narrative, that conservatives are intolerant bigots who hate all Muslims, and that progressives are the only truth-seers.
For progressive politicians, the denial of Islam's violent side is a vote-getting scheme; for average progressive Americans, it's more often a product of sincere ignorance. They see those who speak of radical Islam as bigots, and conflate the identification of the violent aspects of Islam with a condemnation of all 1.8 billion Muslims. This is, of course, not the case. Not all Muslims are radical, and no sane individual thinks that — but many progressives believe that such a bigotry is what's at the heart of conservative objections to violent Islam.
To acknowledge the violence in Islam would also place a wedge in the progressive movement's coalition of identity groups. Democrats currently enjoy an alliance among multiple communities — Muslims and gays included. However, Democrats could not support a faith in which the punishment for homosexuality is death, while also claiming to support the LGBT community. To avoid this identity crisis, they lie about the nature of violent Islam.
So when someone like Omar Mateen comes along, the media would rather speculate about his sexuality than take note of the elephant in the room. Whether protecting the narrative or speaking out of ignorance, the result is the same — radical Islam gets a pass.