“As a Muslim gay man, I find it hard to understand how people can commit such acts in the name of my religion,” 33-year-old Shauket Ali tells Bilerico Report. “My religion teaches love, peace and tolerance.”
Ali currently lives in the U.K., but his parents are from Kashmir in Pakistan. Like the rest of us, he was absolutely horrified when he learned about the bloodbath in Orlando. But he would like to remind everyone, specifically members of the LGBTQ community, that last weekend’s terrorist attack is not representative of Islam as a whole.
As a Muslim gay man, Ali is regularly subjected to hatred from all sides – from members of his own community, the larger LGBTQ community and even ISIS. But he is determined not to let the unending bigotry he experiences prevent him from spreading his message of tolerance and acceptance.
Read what he had to say below.
BILERICO: What was your first thought when you heard about the shooting in Orlando?
ALI: I hate to say this, but my first thought was: It is going to be a Muslim guy? I watched the news unfold throughout the day. Then, as I predicted, the attacker was a Muslim who had phoned the local police department pledging allegiance to the ISIS leader Abu bakr Al-baghdadi.
Then video footage started to appear across the Internet of what happened inside the Pulse nightclub, along with screenshots of text messages of people trapped in the club sent to loved ones saying goodbye. One such message that has been stuck in my mind since it happened was the ones Eddie Justice sent to his mother just before he was murdered in cold blood. I can’t imagine what this brave man was going through while texting his mother his final goodbye and what she must have endured knowing her son was being murdered in the name of my religion.
What was your second thought?
After processing what had happened my second thought was: When is the blame going to start? Almost straight away it came. Lots of anti-Muslim hate being said online, Donald trump gloating about how he was right all along. I think when people start attacking Muslims and calling us crazed jihads and Islamic extremists it’s because it’s easier to use hate rather than to try and understand us.