'Up to God to punish homosexuals': Orlando killer's father

2016-06-13 18:13
Omar Mateen. (Orlando Police Department, AP)

Omar Mateen. (Orlando Police Department, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kabul - The father of the gunman behind the Florida massacre voiced sadness that his son took it upon himself to attack the gay community, saying it was "up to God to punish homosexuals".

In a video posted on Facebook early on Monday, Seddique Mateen said he was grieved by the rampage that left 49 people dead in a gay nightclub in Orlando, calling the 29-year-old killer Omar Mateen a "good and educated son".

"I am deeply saddened and have announced this to the people of America," Seddique said in the three-minute video in the Dari language, voicing disbelief that his son carried out the killings during the holy month of Ramadan.

"It is up to God to punish homosexuals. It is not up to servants," the US resident added, sitting before a flag of his home country Afghanistan.

The assault, the worst mass shooting in modern US history, has triggered an outpouring of grief, but also defiance in the gay and lesbian community.

The father is a minor celebrity in Afghan political circles in the US, hosting an occasional television show in which he expresses hardline views - dressed sometimes in a pinstripe suit and other times in military fatigues.

In the Durand Jirga Show available on YouTube, he rails against the Pakistani government and announces a quixotic bid to seek the Afghan presidency.

Sitting like a statesman with an Afghan flag in the background, he lauds the Taliban as his "warrior brothers" in one of the videos.

"The Taliban are 100% Afghan," said a large yellow signboard he held up in a picture he posted on social media.

But his sympathy for the militant group appears confused at best, as he pillories Taliban leaders in various Facebook posts for alleged links with the Pakistani military establishment.

Officials in Afghanistan sought to distance themselves from the family, saying they did not know when exactly Seddique had left the conflict-torn country.

"All we can say is that he [Mateen] is a US citizen of Afghan origin. He had been living in the US for decades, and that is all we know from the media," a foreign ministry official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

A senior Taliban source on the border dismissed any association with the family, pointing out that Mateen was born, lived and worked in the US.

"I don't even consider him as a jihadi," the source said.

The FBI has admitted that Mateen - who was born to Afghan parents in New York - had previously been investigated, but cleared, for ties to a US suicide bomber.

The Islamic State group on Monday claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying in a radio bulletin that it was carried out by "one of the soldiers of the caliphate".

US President Barack Obama said the FBI was investigating the killings "as an act of terrorism".

Read more on:    us  |  orlando shooting

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.