Slaying of 50 people at gay nightclub is awful consequence of intolerant religious doctrine and lax US gun laws.

Terrorism and acts of terror are calculated actions aimed at intimidating people that assert specific beliefs, whether they be political, social, religious or ideological.

And so it is with America's worst single massacre in its history. The killing of at least 50 people and injuries to even more at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, is something we can never understand. But this incident, currently linked to Isis (Islamic State), raises questions about the dangers of the pursuit of intolerance and hatred through political, social and religious teachings.

In the case of the Florida shooting, the killer was born in America, he went to school and worked in America, he married in America and he became a father in America. He had been interviewed by the FBI for his association with extremist groups and he claimed allegiance to Isis during the siege. Investigators believe his actions were motivated by a mixture of hate and religion.

And the focus of his hate and religion were gay civilians enjoying a Saturday night at a popular gay nightclub. And this all took place during Gay Pride weekend. Reports of explosive materials found in a car near a Gay Pride rally location in Los Angeles at the same time confirm the concerns for members of our LGBTI community. And the targeting of our LGBTI community must be seen as a deliberate attempt at division given the continued fight for equality and non-discrimination for all members of the LGBTI community.


This mass murderer harboured unhealthy attitudes to women and to the gay community. Terrorism feeds on hate. Isis feeds on hate and the subjugation of women and the condemnation of homosexuality where the punishment is death. And any religious or political movement that preaches hate and intolerance provides a vehicle for devastating crimes like this massacre that has destroyed the lives of so many. And it is even easier in a country that allows the promotion of bearing arms as a constitutional right.

This incident ... raises questions about the dangers of the pursuit of intolerance and hatred through political, social and religious teachings.

Noam Chomsky defines terrorism as: "the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious or ideological in nature ... through intimidation, coercion or instilling fear."

It is difficult enough to fear the actions of terrorists because your political and social ideologies are not acceptable to them. But to add to that the fear, nurtured by religious beliefs, that you are not acceptable because of being gay adds a dimension that instils fear into the LGBTIQ community as a whole. Let us hope that the gains made by our LGBTI community and society are not stifled by the actions of cowardly, intolerant bigots who do not value basic human rights.