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ACRE

Defending freedom against hateful violence

13 June 2016

It has been the deadliest mass shooting in American history. At least 50 people were killed and more than 50 others were wounded in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning. The shooter, Omar Mateen who had sworn allegiance to the leader of ISIS, was killed in a shootout with the police.

His targeting of the gay nightclub “Pulse” was very deliberate. The attack was not only a hateful attack against gay people, but also a hateful attack against a society in which a gay lifestyle is possible. His targets were the individual liberty and the equality of all citizens before the law. We don’t yet know how deeply or directly ISIS ideologically influenced the murderer. However, we know for certain that he shared their wicked will to destroy these, our values.

The autonomy, inherent dignity and equality of all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, sex or social class – as stated in the The Reykjavík Declaration – must be defended against violent extremists like Mateen. On Sunday morning, he not only attacked the LGBT community, but all who uphold individual liberty.