The father of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen has posted a video in which he seems to suggest God should punish gay people.
According to the Guardian, Seddique Mateen posted the clip on his Facebook page early today (13 June).
On Sunday night (12 June), Omar Mateen entered Pulse, an LGBTI nightclub in Orlando, Florida and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing 49 people and injuring 53 before he was killed in a police shootout.
Speaking in Dari, the Afghan dialect of the Persian language, Mateen senior condemned his son’s actions.
‘I don’t know what made him [do this], I have no idea, I had no idea that he felt resentful in his heart and had gone to the gay club and killed men and women there,’ Mateen said, according to the Guardian.
‘I am very sad and I’ve announced this to the American people as well. Why did he do this act during this holy month of Ramadan.’
According to the Guardian’s transcript, Mateen senior used the word hamjensbazi, a derogative term for gay people, during his statement, before suggesting their punishment should be up to God, not to man.
‘On the topic of being hamjensbazi, punishment and the things that they do, God will give the punishment,’ he said.
‘This is not the issue for a follower of God and he [Omar] that did this has greatly saddened me.
‘I wanted you to know this. God give all youth complete health to keep the real path of the holy religion of Islam in mind.’
Mateen had spoken with the Guardian shortly before he posted the video, saying his son was born in the US and didn’t identify with the family’s Afghan heritage; the young man had spent his whole life in America and never been to Afghanistan.
‘If he was alive we could ask why he did this,’ the father told the Guardian.
‘He never showed any signs of mental illness or links to extremist groups.’
As more details emerge, the shooter’s father is also subject to further scrutiny, especially as he said comments about Omar growing upset over seeing two men kissing were ‘blown out of proportion’.
According to the Guardian, Mateen senior has occasionally expressed support for the Taliban, and in other Facebook videos appears in military fatigue next to an Afghan flag, where he tells so-called revolutionaries of Afghanistan they’re ‘strong enough to overthrow’ the US-backed Afghan government.
When the newspaper’s reporter confronted him with those claims, he called them ‘performances’, saying he was simply defending Afghanistan.