A pro-Islamic State video has surfaced on YouTube praising Omar Mateen, the jihadi responsible for the massacre of 49 people at the LGBT Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The video does not mention the growing evidence that Mateen himself was gay.
The Daily Mail has posted the video, featuring a selfie of Mateen over the words “Islamic State” and news footage of the aftermath of the massacre Sunday morning. It features an Arabic-language narration over a traditional Sunni nasheed, or fight song, praising the warriors of Allah. The narrator warns President Barack Obama that further “bloodshed on your people” will come if the United States does not end its mission in Iraq and Syria to eradicate the Islamic State.
The Daily Mail notes that the video “has not yet been verified as authentic” by any official arm of the Islamic State.
The video also praises Mateen unconditionally, without mentioning the growing body of evidence that he himself was gay. Multiple users of online dating applications like Jack’D and Grindr have reported having interactions with Mateen, and regulars at Pulse identified him as having visited the club at least a dozen times, often getting too drunk to properly function. His ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, told a Brazilian news station that she knew about Mateen’s “gay tendencies,” but was warned by FBI officials not to speak openly about them.
Homosexuality is punishable by death in Sharia law, the strict Islamic law Muslims adhere to. Scholars disagree on whether throwing those accused of homosexuality off of buildings or burning them alive is the proper way to dispose of them.
Online reports do not link to the video, but connect a screengrab that appears to be from the video to Asawirti Media, a propaganda arm of the Islamic State. The video, some reports indicate, is called “The Heavy Bill: America Pays the Price.”
— Hala Jaber (@HalaJaber) June 14, 2016
— Terrormonitor.org (@Terror_Monitor) June 13, 2016
Pro-Isis media now eulogising Omar Mateen but video still shows no evidence of direction-just rehashed news footage pic.twitter.com/KNHMSVrv9o
— Lizzie Dearden (@lizziedearden) June 13, 2016
Mateen made a 911 call shortly before storming Pulse pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State, though authorities say they have not found any other concrete ties between him and members or recruiters for the jihadist group. Mateen’s father, Seddique, however, has published videos on YouTube affirming his support for another jihadi group: the Afghan Taliban.
The Islamic State has repeatedly called upon its supporters worldwide to engage in “lone wolf” attacks – that is, attacks that have not been planned or approved by high-ranking members of the Islamic State, but are committed in the name of the organization.