The Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) has condemned the Orlando nightclub mass shooting that left at least 50 people dead and 53 others injured on Sunday, calling it a hate crime.
According to Press TV, the gunman, identified by US media as an alleged Daesh sympathizer named Omar Mateen, a US citizen of Afghan descent from Port St. Lucie, Florida, took hostages at the club and barricaded himself in the complex but was later killed by specially trained SWAT units.
Daesh later on claimed responsibility for the attack, according to media outlets affiliated with the terror group.
“Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with the victims and their families… This is a hate crime, plain and simple. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms. It violates our principles as Americans and as Muslims,” Nihad Awad, CAIR’s National Executive Director, said on Sunday.
“We will not give into hate. We will not give into fear,” he added.
Awad insisted that Daesh is an outlawed group which doesn’t represent Muslims.
“You do not speak for us. You do not represent us. You are an aberration, you are an outlaw … they don’t speak for our faith. They never belonged to this beautiful faith,” he said.
He called for unity among all Americans and warned politicians against exploiting the tragedy to score points.
“And to those politicians who may try to exploit this tragedy, we ask them to respect the victims and their families. This is not the time to score points. This is not the time to exploit fear. This is the time for unity and faith,” he said.