Among the more surprising things we have learned about Omar Mateen in recent days is that he was a registered Democrat.
And not just any Democrat—a Hillary supporter.
We learned this from Mohammed A. Malik, a longtime friend and mosque buddy of Mateen’s in Fort Pierce, Florida. Malik is the guy who informed the FBI that Mateen was coming under the influence of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American Islamist cleric. Awlaki had previously inspired another member of the mosque to become a suicide bomber in Syria.
When the FBI found nothing and closed the Mateen case, Malik breathed a sigh of relief and resumed his relationship the relationship with his old friend.
If Omar Mateen had been a Trump supporter, or a Christian fundamentalist or a member of the NRA, she could have gone to the funerals, denounced reactionary Republican racism and sung Amazing Grace
Malik described all this in a first-person account in the Washington Post this week. The reason he wrote the article was to demonstrate that some American Muslims do turn in budding jihadis. And indeed, it was a courageous thing for him to do.
In passing, Malik recounted his final meeting with Omar Mateen.
“I last saw him at a dinner at his father’s house in January [in 2016],” he writes. “We talked about the presidential election and debated our views of the candidates that were running – he liked Hillary Clinton and I liked Bernie Sanders. This banter continued through texts and phone calls for several months.”
It is not surprising that Mateen (and Malik) were Democrats. Most American-Muslims are (about 70 percent voted for Obama in 2012). Ironically, so were most of the people Mateen slaughtered at the Pulse Club in Orlando. There might have been a stray Republican or two among the dead and wounded, but young, gay, Hispanic and African American partiers tend to be Blue.
The atrocity at Pulse is being “explained” in many ways by interest groups who want to control the narrative. Theories vary. Some blame the inadequacy of American gun laws. Others decry the radicalizing potential of the internet. Some see this as an inexplicable act by a violent psycho from Queens. Others call it a calculated attack by a dedicated Muslim holy warrior. There are elements of truth all of these assessments.
It was also an act of Democrat-on-Democrat violence.
This is extremely inconvenient for Hillary Clinton. If Omar Mateen had been a Trump supporter, or a Christian fundamentalist or a member of the NRA, she could have gone to the funerals, denounced reactionary Republican racism and sung Amazing Grace. It appears that the revelations in Malik’s story will spare Americans that performance.
The Pulse massacre is even less convenient for the rising progressive wing of the Democratic Party That movement is powered, in part, by the theory of intersectionality—the idea that victimized and oppressed communities (LGBT, single women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, Native Americans and immigrants of color) share values and interests that make them natural allies. Solidarity is a constant in Marxist politics, and if you get quite get to a common front with the workers of the world, at least you can glue together a virtuous coalition of oppressed brothers and sisters.
Then along comes Omar Mateen—an ethnic and religious victim in good standing--and the last words out of his mouth are an oath of loyalty to an Islamic ideology that punishes homosexuality as a capital crime.
Since 9/11, Republicans have found it relatively easy to wrap their minds around the notion that political Islam in its current forms (Sunni and Shia) is a weaponized ideology at war with America and incompatible with life in an open society. This thought crosses liberal minds, too, although it is not said in polite company. It could whip up animosity, incite the Muslims even more. And we all know that most Muslims are moderate, right?
That happens to be true. But there are more than enough fanatical Muslims to wage holy war (and more coming on line every day). These jihadis are not impressed by the pleas of progressive solidarity or liberal values or Christian piety. They make no distinctions between Republicans and Democrats. An infidel is an infidel. And a nightclub is a nightclub.