“I pledge my alliance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. May Allah accept me. The real Muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west….”
– Omar Mateen on Facebook, from within Pulse on Sunday, June 12, 2016
The massacre of 49 Americans in Orlando last week once again raised the disturbing specter of voguish Orwellian doublespeak. This bizarre dialect is now utilized ad nauseam to explain away the seemingly constant slaughter of innocents around the world, too often in the name of one ideology. In response to Pulse, the New York Times editorial board furiously penned a 650 word screed explaining that “The precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear,” and then went to on name 7 Republican politicians as root causes, without mentioning ISIS once. From there, cue the moral equivalence brigade, led by CNN contributor Sally Kohn, who tweeted, “Homophobic, misogynistic, racist extremist hate is the problem. It is problem in Islam, in Christianity, in Judaism, or any other form.” Numerical tallies, conveniently started the day after 9/11, were broadcast far and wide to illustrate how demographically equitable America’s mass shooting perpetrators are. Memes on Facebook sprouted up against the NRA, Republicans, and the Church’s Crusades 1,000 years ago – all to help clarify why Omar Mateen, the Muslim registered Democrat who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, butchered 49 human beings just because of who they love.
Obviously, when it comes to Jihadist violence, Israel is western civilization’s front line, and the Jewish people have always been the canary in the mine. I fear that what has happened to us Jews will sadly happen to the LGBTQ community as well, if current trends continue. So it’s time to learn from the Jews, my friends, because we’ve been shot, stabbed, raped, tortured, and hung by Omar Mateen’s spiritual ancestors going back many generations, and we’ve discovered a thing or two about survival in the process.
The Obfuscation Of Motive For Political Expediency
Consider this: On January 9, 2015, two days after Jihadists murdered 11 at Charlie Hebdo for the unforgivable crime of drawing Mohammad, another Jihadist named Amedy Coulibaly set out on a similar mission, also in Paris. January 9 was Shabbat, the holy day for Jews. Before creeping out of his flat, Coulibaly had already pledged his allegiance to ISIS on video, and was armed to the teeth despite some of the strictest gun regulations in the EU. He stormed into a Hypercacher kosher deli in Porte de Vincennes, and began shooting every Jew in sight. Four defenseless Jews were executed, and scores more were injured, all deliberately targeted in a kosher deli on Shabbat according to Coulibaly in his own words. (Sound familiar?)
Yet, in an interview with Vox magazine, President Obama infamously remarked, “It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.” “Zealotry” in the name of what, exactly? “Randomly” went into a kosher deli in the Jewish quarter on Shabbat? A “bunch of folks,” not Jews targeted specifically because they were Jews? Indeed, the party line was that Coulibaly’s motive back then, much like Omar Mateen’s today, was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But underneath the official “confusion,” the original intent of doublespeak was achieved – the murderer was amorphous, the victims were arbitrary, and therefore there was no motive to speak of.
Muddying motive is political expediency, not just political correctness. Categorizing the killer as “mentally unstable” or a “lone wolf” and motive as “unclear” completely removes the government’s burden of explaining to the public how it dropped the ball, yet again. In the case of Orlando, it’s just the latest example of ineptitude on the part of federal law enforcement. Mateen was on the FBI’s radar – twice! He obtained two firearm licenses (Class “D” Security Officer license and Class “G” Statewide Firearm license) after passing two comprehensive background checks. The feds had Boston Marathon terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev as well, before letting him go. Likewise, Tashfeen Malik of San Bernadino fame passed three background checks because the feds didn’t bother to check her social media accounts, which were teeming with Jihadist posts. There are many other examples of glaring incompetence in dealing with Jihadist attackers, which begs the question: Why advocate for more rules and less freedom when the federal government has already demonstrated such gross negligence in stopping Omar Mateen, and the many who came before him?
Indeed, the LGBTQ community is just the latest useful pawn to promote the government’s illusionary agenda of security. To that end, Pulse will inevitably be treated like Hypercacher. How long before killing gays precisely because they are gay quietly morphs into “random folks getting shot for unknown motives,” lest we offend certain sensibilities? Too late! It’s already happening. Exactly one week after the massacre, on June 19, Loretta Lynch announced that the any mentions of allegiance to ISIS would be redacted from the official released transcripts of Omar Mateen’s 911 calls. One day later (as I write this,) the DOJ partially relented after an enormous public outcry, and released a “less censored” transcript (still replacing “Allah” with “God.”)
Everything Starts and Ends With Culture
Pulse wasn’t about left/right politics, gun rights, mental health, or any other domestic policy issue. Pulse was borne of a rampant, murderous mainstreamed homophobic culture, which finds safe haven in the 10 countries where even suspicion of homosexuality is punishable by death. Of those countries, all but Nigeria are Islamist, including Afghanistan, where Omar Mateen’s family hails from. As abhorrent as any bigoted Christian preachers are in the United States, nothing here approaches the abject barbarism of throwing LGBTQ from rooftops, stoning them to death, hanging them from cranes, and even forced gender conversion surgery, as is common state-sponsored practice under the Islamist ideology. Imagine a Fred Phelps in charge not of a rinky-dink pariah “congregation,” but of the entire country’s legislative and judiciary powers, as well as state-controlled media. That is life under the sharia for millions of LGBTQ today.
This insidious outlook is not limited to those 10 countries, either – far from it. The most conclusive polling done on the subject (by the respected non-partisan Pew Research Center) shows that 75% of the population in the overwhelming majority of Muslim countries believes that homosexuality is inherently wrong. Hundreds upon hundreds of millions of people subscribe to this worldview, not just “extremists.” Muslims living in modern, cosmopolitan Western democracies don’t fare much better – in a shocking, comprehensive poll that rocked Britain earlier this year, it came to light that half of London’s Muslims believe homosexuality should be illegal. Just last month, a group of 51 Muslim states blocked 11 gay and transgender organizations from participating in the UN’s “2016 High Level Meeting On Ending AIDS.” Most tellingly, Arab social media is exploding not with sympathy for the 49 victims at Pulse, but with praise for Omar Mateen! Ask yourself: How many of the 50+ Muslim-majority countries allow the LGBTQ community anything even remotely approaching equal rights under the law? We must acknowledge this cultural chasm frankly in order to affect meaningful change, ideally from within. The idea that this endemic homophobia is only the “radical fringe” is simply self-delusional rubbish.
The Mental Disease Of Knee-Jerk False Equivalency
For the sake of honesty in language, let us cease the dishonest charade of blaming some nebulous “hate” as responsible. Hate comes from somewhere, and we can clearly identify its origins, which are almost entirely religious. But we must stop falsely equating all faiths as though they’re proportionally to blame for modern homophobia.
Look at the sea change the LGBTQ community has admirably implemented in the Christian western world over the past 25 years. It’s far from perfect, but the progress is undeniable, and the last remnants of American bigotry have irrefutably lost the culture war. A massive majority of millennial conservative Republicans favor LGBTQ equality, as the old guard fades into obscurity. Meanwhile, in the Jewish state of Israel where my family hails from, the religious Orthodox have an outsized hand in defining the social customs and values of the country. Yet Tel Aviv is the world’s favorite destination for gay travelers, whose rights are fully protected under the law. We may have written Leviticus 2,500 years ago, but today we have the Middle East’s only real Pride Parade, well over 150,000 strong and rising each year. LGBTQ serve openly in the Israeli Defense Forces, in command positions. Comparing these records (even with their multitude of imperfections) to Islamism is patently absurd, and will only alienate political allies in a futile attempt to placate ideological enemies.
When People Tell You That They’re Going To Kill You, Take Them Seriously
As the first pictures of Auschwitz were published after the camps were liberated in 1945, much of the world gasped in disbelief that “nobody knew” what was transpiring there. Whether or not that’s true is certainly debatable, but Hitler’s Final Solution was positively discreet compared to much of the Jihadist world’s plans for the Jews and LGBTQ then, and now. The Jihadis are honest to a fault about their intentions. From Ali Khamenei’s grand pronouncements about Iran’s schemes to visit a second holocaust upon Israel, to Hamas’ statements earlier this year following the brutal killing of their own commander (Mahmoud Ishtiwi) for suspected homosexuality, to Omar Mateen’s social media posts about our “filthy ways.” From the national level, to the organizational level, to the individual level – the Jihadi message is absolutely unambiguous, and bellowed at volume 11 from every rooftop. Is it too much to ask that we as a liberal society start believing the words from the proverbial horse’s mouth, rather than the western apologist interpretations?
The Jihadi message flows downward from the religious leaders to the political players, and the gory actions are inevitably carried out by the useful idiots beneath them. Just this past April, Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar spoke at the Husseini Islamic Center in Orlando, where he preached that “Death is the sentence. We have to have that compassion for people. With homosexuals, it’s the same. Out of compassion, let’s get rid of them now.” Are we that daft, to ignore the link between this blatant incitement to kill, and the gruesome reality played out a few weeks later just down the road? Multiply this by tens of thousands of fundamentalist madrassas around the world, and you begin to understand the scope of the issue.
This Is A Global Issue, Not A Local One
The identical bloodthirsty ideology that gave us Pulse also gave us 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the attacks in Garland, Chattanooga, and San Berdandino, among many recent others in the United States. It gave us the carnage in Paris, London, Madrid, and Brussels in Europe, and it gives us multiple intifadas in Israel which still continue to this day. The brands may change – ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Nusra, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, the Taliban – there are literally thousands – but the menu is always the same decrepit meal.
Recognize that this battle is a global one which reaches far beyond American borders. The same backwards ideology seeks our shared destruction, Jew and LGBTQ alike. (God help those who are both!) In every single country where LGBTQ are targeted for persecution and marked for death today, so the Jews were yesterday, which is why we are now extinct there. After thousands of years of civilization, there are literally no Jews left in the Middle Eastern countries where my parents were born just one generation ago. Therefore, the gay man swinging from a crane in Iran, or launched off a rooftop in Syria, or stoned to death in Saudi Arabia is my brother as well as yours. Same with the Jewish mother shopping for bread in Paris, at a Kosher deli on Shabbat. Her struggle is your struggle, not just mine. All who cherish liberal social values must raise holy hell for them both, until they are safe and free wherever they live!
Do Not Be Taken For Granted
Mindful Jews realized long ago that there is no safe haven for us anywhere on the ideological spectrum, and this is ultimately the most important lesson of all. We have endured the brutality of humankind, from the inquisitions of the Catholic Church on the right to the holocaust of the Godless socialist left, and every pogrom in between. For the record, so has the LGBTQ community. Today, the LGBTQ community is waking to the inconvenient truth that when faced with the cognitive dissonance of protecting LGBTQ lives or excusing Jihadist brutality for the sake of political expediency, too many on the left have chosen the latter. Please don’t make the usual masochistic mistake we Jews do, when we blindly support those craven politicians that throw us under the bus in identical circumstances. Never again give sanction to those who would gleefully render the victims at Pulse just another bunch of “random folks getting shot for some unknown motive.” They died for a reason, and we all know damn well what it is.
* Moshe Levy works in marketing at a private manufacturing company, and discovered his inner Zionist later in life.
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