On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a self-declared “soldier of ISIS,” killed 49 people and wounded at least 50 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The attack at the popular gay bar was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Mateen was later shot and killed by police.
A year later, op-ed columnist Adam Manno, writing in the New York Times, is marking the anniversary of the massacre by slamming President Donald Trump's “year of racism,” suggesting that Trump has been at least partially to blame for an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment in the year following the attack:
In the op-ed, titled “A Night of Terror, a Year of Racism,” Manno writes that he knew Trump would use the shooting as a “justification for a ban on Muslims entering the country” after he read a tweet Trump posted in the immediate aftermath of the attack:
To be fair to Trump, he had previously posted a tweet in which he called the shooting “horrific,” saying he was praying for the victims and their families:
Nonetheless, as Manno sees it, Trump's tweet was “Exhibit A”:
From that moment on, it was clear that the tragedy would not become a reason to champion noble or productive causes like gun reform.
Instead, it would become Exhibit A in Mr. Trump’s justification for a ban on Muslims entering the country — despite the fact that the shooter was an American and Muslim refugees have not killed anyone in the United States.
Despite the fact that Mateen, described by a former co-worker as a “bigot to almost every class of person,” had pledged allegiance to ISIS, Manno complains that “national coverage linking Islam to the massacre was inescapable”:
[You] could feel it in Orlando. In July, a month after the tragedy, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Muslim bias had spiked in our area: A Mason-Dixon poll found that 21 percent of Central Floridians held views on Muslims that were “more negative than before the shooting.”
And Trump “continued to yell” about banning Muslims two months after the attack:
In August, Mr. Trump’s campaign set up a field office directly across the street from the Pulse memorial as the presidential candidate continued to yell about a Muslim ban.
Manno provides several examples of “misleading or hateful” speech against Islam, suggesting that “this kind of talk” leads to “increased threats and prejudice” against Muslims.
The recent University of Central Florida graduate says he doesn't support censorship, yet suggests that those with whom he disagrees should be silenced, complaining that the university “did nothing to prevent anti-Muslim rhetoric from circulating.”
In related news, Blair Imani, who identifies as a “queer” Muslim woman, told Tucker Carlson last week that the government should provide “safe spaces” to Muslims, blacks, and members of the LGBT community.
As Imani envisions it, these “spaces" would protect those mentioned from "having fear of being surveilled, having violence committed against [them], or being harassed.”
Then again, as Manno sees it, there's always President Trump.