My Open Letter to Mr. Omar Saddiqui Mateen

Mr. Mateen,

You took it upon yourself to rent a vehicle, drive from your home in Port St. Lucie to Orlando, and commit the largest mass shooting in our Nation's history. And when I say our Nation, I mean mine and everyone else's. You do not deserve to call this Nation devoted to freedom and diversity, your nation. You failed to represent this country for what it is. This country provides to its citizens the liberty to live their lives as they please, so long as they're not infringing upon the rights or safety of others.

Pure hate triggered you to commit such an egregious crime in the beautiful city of Orlando, but know that this city is too strong to let you render it one of violence and senseless murder. Orlando is home to over two million people of different religious upbringings, national origins, and racial classifications. Despite these differences, Orlando came together as one and provided the love and support needed to overcome the tragedy you've brought upon it. Lines to donate blood were quickly formed, and donations of food and water were made before they could even be requested. Counselors dropped everything they were doing to volunteer and provide an outlet for those grieving the loss of loved ones and friends. It is those citizens that will forever represent Orlando, your night of selfish and hate induced attacks, will not.

Your actions fail to represent not only the regions that you have impacted, but also the family that raised you. From what I have come to learn about your family, your sisters are the sweetest girls, and your mother has the kindest of hearts. Mutual friends of ours have expressed pure disbelief. They're unable to make sense of what you've done and the lives you've taken. Your family's reputation as a respectable and loving family has been tarnished, and although they've publicly expressed their condolences and apologized for what you've done, nothing will rid them of the pain you have caused each of them. They will forever live with the guilt and everlasting impact of your repulsive hate crime. My only hope is that the World recognizes them for who they are individually, and not for the infamous title that you've consequently given to them.

You, Omar Saddiqui Mateen, do not represent your family, nor do you represent Islam and the Muslim community. Islam provides guidance to its followers and teaches us how to respect and live amongst others, regardless of our differences. Islam teaches us how to love, despite the hate and ignorance that plagues the world today. You chose to hate. You decided to attack the LGBT community, rather than to show them the true meaning of Islam. You failed to lead by example. You failed to demonstrate the values that are instilled in us as Muslims. As Muslims, we are expected to understand that Islam, like Christianity, prohibits acts of homosexuality. However, we are also expected to understand the sensitivity surrounding one's sexuality, and to pray for those that we believe are in need of Allah's (SWT) guidance. It was not your job to judge the lives of others. Islam does not issue a pass to harm those that sin differently than you do. Islam does not promote senseless acts of violence and hate through its prohibitions. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims all around the world were displaying acts of genuine kindness and humility. You chose to do the opposite. You chose to hate and in doing so, you've misrepresented this Nation, my city, your family, and the entire religion of Islam.

YOU do not represent US, Omar Mateen. Countless communities will continue to come together and set aside their differences to assist in any way that we possibly can. We will do what you could not. We will combat hate with love, and defy it against all odds.

Yours Truly,
Muna R. Abraham