On Islamophobia as a Response to the Orlando Shooting

By Shailee Koranne.

Nowadays, it seems as though whenever there is a shooting or bombing that generates media attention – which is unfortunately very often –  it takes both liberal and conservative news channels and political figures less and less time to blame the violence on ‘radical Islamism.’ When I turned on the news on Sunday afternoon after hearing about the shooting at the Pulse nightclub early that morning in Orlando, FL, it was almost instantaneous; within minutes of reporting the shooter’s name, CNN also revealed that he was raised Muslim, supported ISIS, and was of Afghani heritage.

While being so concerned about the shooter’s race and religion, most major media outlets ignored that most of the victims of the shooting were queer people of colour, specifically Latinx PoC. The deaths of a marginalized community are being used to vilify another marginalized community.


So, if you want to talk about how race relations were involved in the Orlando shooting, don’t speculate about the shooter’s Afghani heritage (by the way, he was born and raised in America); instead, talk about the fact that queer and trans people of colour face disproportionate amounts of violence as compared to white queer and trans people.

Instead of painting Muslims in broad strokes as inherently homophobic people, talk about how queer Muslims feel when you propagate incendiary lies about their communities, faith, and cultures.

Instead of digging up the Orlando shooter’s father’s YouTube channel to search for so-called ‘proof’ that Islam is violent, talk about how a white guy was caught en route to the LA Pride Parade yesterday with multiple guns and explosive materials and we didn’t hear about him or his ‘heritage’ past that. Talk about how hypermasculinity and easy access to firearms play into the staggering amount of shooting-related deaths every year. Talk about why we are led to believe that men of colour are criminals, when data shows that most of the people who commit mass murders are white men.


I wonder if anyone that blames violence on Islam actually knows any Muslim people, because Islam is not the cause behind Omar Mateen’s actions.  Don’t worsen the impact of the horrifying deaths in Orlando by buying into the East/West dividing rhetoric that actually helps radical terrorists in carrying out their motives.

The media has prioritized Islamophobia over paying respect to those whose lives were lost in a horrible tragedy. 49 people aged 18-50 died in Orlando this Sunday, all with varying professions, stories, and backgrounds. These are their names:

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old


The names of the victims of the Orlando shooting as well as all photos used in this article are from the city of Orlando’s website.

To read another Lucky Penny Mag piece about Islamophobia, read Arman Adel’s essay “What Is My Islam?” here