The Left is attempting to paint the Orlando massacre as primarily an attack on the gay community, made possible by easy access to guns. That is, according to the Left’s narrative, homophobia and gun violence are the ingredients that lit the fuse. Typical of this distorted way of thinking was the New York Times lead editorial on June 14th, which claimed the United States was being “terrorized again – and again, and again, and again – by the uniquely deadly combination of twisted hatred and weapons of mass destruction as easily available as cough medicine.”

This gross oversimplification plays down the role of ISIS-inspired jihad in fueling the massacre. The shooter, Omar Mateen, pledged allegiance to ISIS, drawing on its strict interpretation of sharia law to justify his rampage.

Some have attributed Mateen’s choice of a gay nightclub as his target to self-loathing for his own possible homosexual tendencies. However, that would not explain why he and his wife cased a Disney theme park in April as a possible location for his attack. Disney reportedly informed the FBI of what their surveillance had picked up, to no avail. Is it just a coincidence that, last January, a Muslim with two handguns and copy of the Koran was arrested at Disneyland Paris? More likely, it demonstrates how jihadists are targeting soft targets popular with tourists for maximum effect, especially those associated with “decadent” Western consumerism.  

Moreover, there is the timing of Mateen’s attack. It came just three days after it was revealed that a pro-Isis group had issued a threat against U.S. civilians, including specifically in Florida. And last month, an ISIS spokesman called for lone wolf attacks by its sympathizers in Europe and the U.S. during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan “to win the great award of martyrdom.” Ramadan started a week before Mateen’s attack. If, as has been reported, Mateen had been a frequent visitor to the nightclub for whatever reason, he evidently skipped multiple opportunities to conduct his killing spree and waited for the start of Ramadan, as ISIS leaders had instructed.

Mateen was responding to the same radical Islamic ideology that led two illegal immigrants from Tunisia, who were ISIS followers, to stab a 26-year-old transgender man in Brussels the day before the Orlando attack. And it was the same radical Islamic ideology that led a man claiming allegiance to ISIS to stab a police official and his companion to death in France a day after the Orlando attack, while repeating ISIS’s call to turn the Euro 2016 football tournament being held in France into “a graveyard.” 

The common denominator of these attacks, along with the suicide bombings and shootings in Paris and Brussels, the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the massacres in Fort Hood, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, and so many more around the globe, is not homophobia. It is not random gun violence. It is the jihadist ideology of radical Islam, and the hatred for our way of life that inspires violence to destroy it. 

Mateen was not self-radicalized in a vacuum. Family members, including his wife, who has admitted to knowing about his murderous plans beforehand and even helping him scout possible sites for his assault, protected him. His pro-Taliban father reportedly helped run a radical mosque, the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, which Mateen was said to have regularly attended. He prayed there just 36 hours before he began his slaughter at the Orlando nightclub.

Mateen’s mosque has been described by local law enforcement officials as a “breeding ground” for terrorists. The first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, had attended the mosque, sparking the FBI’s interest in 2014 when it investigated a possible link between Mateen and the suicide bomber.  The result of the investigation was inconclusive at the time. So was an investigation that the FBI had conducted of Mateen a year earlier, stemming from terrorist threats he had allegedly made at work. The FBI closed that investigation after 10 months because they concluded that Mateen was simply responding to what he felt was Islamophobia being displayed by his co-workers. His 2011 and 2012 trips to Saudi Arabia, which is home to the virulent Wahhabi strain of Islam in which al Qaeda and ISIS have their ideological roots, apparently raised no eyebrows at the FBI. We are supposed to believe that Mateen’s trips were innocent pilgrimages.  

Clearly, the FBI dropped the ball. Political correctness took priority over public safety. Also disturbing is a claim by newly retired Department of Homeland Security agent Philip Haney about his work that could have tied the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce to a broader jihadist network. It had been squelched by Obama administration officials. “This case struck me as very similar to the San Bernardino shooting case,” Haney told WND, commenting on the Orlando mass shootings. “I suspected that they were both part of a national and international network of organizations.”

Connecting the dots is a critical part of remaining a step ahead of the jihadists, according to Haney, which the FBI failed to do in this case.  “As long as we mislead ourselves with a false narrative about the threat we face, we’re never going to come to the place where we can develop a counter-strategy to it,” he said.

The Left, including President Obama and Hillary Clinton, are exploiting the Orlando tragedy to push their false narrative that Americans themselves are somehow at least partly at fault for what happened. In its June 15th lead editorial “The Threat to Gay Americans,” the New York Times said that the “49 people killed in Orlando” were “the casualties of a society where hate has deep roots,” alluding to alleged anti-gay bigotry especially within the Republican Party.

To the contrary, the people killed and severely wounded in Orlando were the casualties of global jihad.  They were targets of an Islamic supremacist ideology of hate against all of us who believe in freedom, respect and human dignity for every individual.

Read at FrontPage Mag