Attack on Orlando gay club 'unbelievable': imam

Published: June 13, 2016
Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman of the Islamic Centre of Fort Pierce speaks with the media following a prayer for victims of the Orlando shooting. PHOTO: REUTERS

Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman of the Islamic Centre of Fort Pierce speaks with the media following a prayer for victims of the Orlando shooting. PHOTO: REUTERS

FORT PIERCE, USA: The imam of the mosque where the Orlando nightclub shooter worshipped said Sunday that the suspect never gave any indication he was capable of such violence.

Omar Mateen, 29, attended evening prayers three or four times a week at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, bringing his son who is about four or five years old, the mosque’s imam said.

US Muslim leader condemns Orlando attack, slams extremists

“He would pray and his son would play,” said Syed Shafeeq Rahman, who has known Mateen since 2003 when he became the imam.

Mateen did not socialise, leaving when services ended.

He didn’t talk but would smile and shake hands, Rahman said.

The imam said it was “unbelievable” that a heavily-armed Mateen carried out a rampage at a gay club in Orlando, killing 50 people and wounding 53.

It was the deadliest terror attack in the United States since September 11, 2001.

Authorities said Mateen apparently called 911 before the massacre and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

He was mentally unstable, says ex-wife of suspected Orlando shooter

“I never expected this,” Rahman said, holding a Holy Quran in his hand as he spoke with reporters. “We teach peace and justice.”

“It must be some kind of psychological problem or anger problem,” the imam said, adding that Mateen might have been radicalizsed on the Internet.

Mateen’s parents regularly attend services at the mosque and his father works in life insurance, the imam said.

Deadly rampage: Orlando hit by worst shooting in US history

Rahman said he was concerned about the safety of the mosque, located on a quiet residential street in the small coastal city of Fort Pierce.

“The people who are bad people look like us, and that’s a problem,” he said.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Thora Bora
    Jun 13, 2016 - 11:20AM

    It should be so.Recommend

  • Rahul
    Jun 13, 2016 - 12:20PM

    These so called imams and maulvis are acting so surprised as if extremists incidents like these perpetrated by Muslims have never happened before. Such a sham. Recommend

  • Point
    Jun 13, 2016 - 8:43PM

    Have americans ever accepted the fact that terrorism or in simple words act of killing innocents was started by U.S. forces in peaceful countries in Middle East!! or any act of innocent killing is just safety of world when done by U.S. forces. Terrorists in East are simply following what they have learned from U.S. forces killing innocents in their home countries!!Recommend

  • Point
    Jun 13, 2016 - 8:45PM

    Dont be a mum to the fact that massive terrorism/act of killing innocent was started by U.S. and NATO forces in home countries of these people and these people are simply following footsteps of what they have learned from U.S. forces. It is wrong indeed, these people should not follow the methods of U.S. forces but indeed have patience and pray for all their relatives and family members killed over the last 10 years by the Western forces!!Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jun 14, 2016 - 3:32AM

    I watched the Imam’s interview and he did not convince me…….. possibly l’m biased.Recommend

  • quatro
    Jun 14, 2016 - 4:44AM

    @Point: Rubbish. First Iraq war was the result of Muslim Iraq invading Muslim Kuwait and Saudi Arabia … the USA military intervention was directed at freeing Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Their “thank you” was 911.Recommend

  • Commentator
    Jun 14, 2016 - 5:07AM

    @Point: dude you must be kidding me – Did you forget the times since 6th century when you guys started unprovoked wars against the Jews, Christians and other religions from Europe to Asia and forcefully converting people to Islam? You guys captured Palestine and now claim it to be yours??Recommend

  • sid
    Jun 14, 2016 - 6:58AM

    ‘you guys’?
    There you end the difference between yourself and the sick terrorists by generalizing.Recommend

  • vaidyanathan
    Jun 14, 2016 - 7:51AM

    A few days back Hafiz Saeed declared and threatened USA as number one enemy. Now he carried out the threat.

    In future, Saeed may target innocent in USA.Recommend

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