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Orlando: Thoughts on a tragedy

by jackdavies on 13 June, 2016

The news that 50 people had been murdered in an Orlando gay bar filtered through slowly on Sunday morning. Another 53 are still in hospital receiving treatment. It may seem, at this moment in time, so right to attack the ideology of the individual who committed this crime, Omar Mateen, without showing an understanding that this is not an act committed by the faith of Islam.

It may seem, and usually does after events such as these, that there is a conflict between the followers of the religion of Islam, and the citizens of western liberal democracies. I don’t think that is the case.

In the New Forest, we have shown that a multitude of cultures, including Islam, Christianity, and Judaism can live side by side: working together, living together, praying together. There is no conflict here because we have all adapted to the 21st century.

I know you’re angry at the injustice and ignorance of such an act. I am too. So I ask you, if you’re angry, if you find yourselves hating someone you’ve never met for a crime they haven’t committed, please take a moment to understand. To understand that the man who committed these murders did so because he decided to.

Because no matter how vile an act, we cannot permit cruelty to beget cruelty. Hatred to beget hatred. Violence to beget violence. I don’t want to see those liberal values we fought so hard for extinguished overnight. We cannot allow minorities within our countries to be turned against each other.

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