Addressing the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said today that there is indeed an “Islamic element” in terrorism, while he also called for additional surveillance and gun control. Speaking in an interview with The New York Times, Frank said "It's an attack against gay people but it does not reflect a general deterioration of our standing in America. It reflects the virulence of the hatred in this sector of Islam."
Frank represent his district in Massachusetts for 32 years and retired in 2013. He identified himself as a homosexual in 1987 and has been a vocal advocate of the gay rights cause. He said that persons with extremist Islamist views should be monitored by the Muslim community, and the government.
"There is an Islamic element here," he told NYT. "Yes, the overwhelming majority of Muslims don’ do this, but there is clearly, sadly, an element in the interpretation of Islam that has some currency, some interpretation in the Middle East that encourages killing people - and L.G.B.T. people are on that list. And I think it is fair to ask leaders of the Islamic community, religious and otherwise, to spend some time combatting this."
He said that that the FBI should conduct "significant surveillance" of targeted individuals. The shooter, Omar Mateen, shot 49 people to death on June 12 at a gay bar in Orlando, Florida. Described by former co-workers as having violent views, he was twice interviewed by the FBI in recent years. The FBI closed its investigations. Mateen was a U.S. citizen who was born in 1996 to Afghan parents.
Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 call just before carrying out the carnage at the Pulse nightclub. The Islamic State later issued a statement taking credit for the shootings. President Obama deplored the violence but did not identify the attacker, or his motives, as Muslim
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