Father of Orlando mass shooting suspect, Omar Mateen, says only God can ‘punish’ homosexuality
Editor’s note: This article was updated at 1 p.m. ET to clarify the headline with regards to Seddique Mateen’s comments.
The father of Omar Mateen, the man who police said killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, said God will punish homosexuals.
On Sunday, Seddique Mateen condemned his son’s actions, saying he didn’t know why his son would commit such a horrific crime.
WATCH: Father of Orlando shooter defends comments about God punishing homosexuals
“He went to a club for homosexual boys and girls and killed 50 of them,” Seddique Mateen said in a video statement posted on Facebook. “I’m extremely upset. I have told the American people the same thing. I don’t know why he committed such an act during the holy month of Ramadan.
“The issue of homosexuality, the punishment – whatever they do, God punishes it. It’s not up to God’s servants,” the father said in video.
Police said Mateen opened fire just after 2 a.m. Sunday, at a gay nightclub. At least 53 people were injured in the rampage, some critically, while another 49 people lost their lives.
Speaking with NBC News, Seddique Mateen said his son wasn’t radicalized, took care of his family and never missed a day of work.
“I didn’t see anything different that the way he was behaving … until yesterday he was the same,” he said. “I wish I did see something that would got my attention, this would not have happened.”
When asked whether his son ever talked about homosexuality, Seddique Mateen explained his son got a “bit ticked off” after witnessing the behaviour of a couple in Miami.
“He just said ‘Look at this,’” Seddique Mateen said in the interview. “Well, there were two guys were kissing each other in front of the family and kids.”
According to the Associated Press, the elder Mateen, who was born in Afghanistan, had a talk show in the U.S., and one former Afghan official said the program was pro-Taliban, while a former colleague of Seddique Mateen called it “enthusiastically pro-American.”
Mateen’s father is a life insurance salesman who started a group in 2010 called Durand Jirga, Inc., according to Qasim Tarin, a businessman from California who was a Durand Jirga board member. The name refers to the Durand line, the long disputed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
WATCH: Father of Orlando shooter says Pulse nightclub should have had better security
Some of Seddique Mateen’s shows were taped and later posted on YouTube. During one episode, a sign in the background read: “Long live the U.S.A! Long live Afghanistan … Afghans are the best friends to the U.S.A,” according to the Associated Press.
But a former Afghan official told the Associated Press the “Durand Jirga Show” appears on Payam-e-Afghan, a California-based channel that supports ethnic solidarity with the Afghan Taliban, which are mostly Pashtun. Viewers from Pashtun communities in the United States regularly call in to the channel to espouse support for Pashtun domination of Afghanistan over the nation’s minorities, including Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbeks, the official said.
–with files from The Associated Press
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