Don’t turn homophobia into Islamophobia

538085720-Vigil in memory of OrlandoNicole Colson reports on the outpouring of solidarity for the victims of a horrific mass shooting–and the need to challenge the tide of racist scapegoating of Muslims.

HORROR.

The word alone isn’t enough to describe the feeling as the country woke up to news of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. For three hours in the early morning of Sunday, June 12, 29-year-old gunman Omar Mateen kept killing at Pulse, a popular Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub. By the time he was killed himself, 50 people were dead and at least 53 wounded–one out of every three people who had been at the club.

The response was immediate and overwhelming. Amid the shock and grief, thousands in Orlando and elsewhere turned out to donate blood (despite federal guidelines that bar gay and bisexual men from being allowed to donate blood) or offer any help they could.

In cities across the U.S., vigils took place the night of the terrible crime–drawing dozens in some places, hundreds in others, but all with a sober determination to stand up against hate.

Often, the Muslim community took a lead to push back against the right-wing narrative already taking shape–and with a plea: Don’t turn a horrific tragedy into an excuse for scapegoating and Islamophobia. [Read more…]