The father of the gunman behind the Orlando massacre voiced disapproval that his son took it upon himself to attack the gay community, saying it was “up to God to punish homosexuals”.
Authorities said Omar Mateen had been twice questioned by FBI agents in 2013 and 2014 after making comments to co-workers about supporting militant groups, but neither interview led to evidence of criminal activity
His father, Mir Siddique, who saw Mateen on Saturday, said in a video posted to Facebook that he had not known of his son’s plans.
“I don’t know what happened and I didn’t know he had hatred,” said Mr Siddique. “God himself will punish homosexuality. It is not the job for humankind.”
He said he had a “good and educated son”.
“I am deeply saddened and have announced this to the people of America,” Mr Siddique said in the Dari language, voicing disbelief that his son carried out the killings during the holy month of Ramadan.
The assault, the worst mass shooting in modern US history, triggered an outpouring of grief but also defiance in the gay and lesbian community.
The father is a minor celebrity in Afghan political circles in the US, hosting an occasional television show in which he expresses hardline views — dressed sometimes in a pinstripe suit and other times in military fatigues.
The FBI said Mateen — born to Afghan parents in New York — had been investigated, but cleared, for ties to a suicide bomber.
Islamic State yesterday claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying in a radio bulletin that it was carried out by “one of the soldiers of the caliphate”.
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