Dr. Andrew Holt, a professor of history at Florida State College at Jacksonville who has published numerous books on religious history, with a particular emphasis on the crusades and historic relations between Christian and Muslim societies, has penned a response to Sunday’s Orlando massacre that offers several insights into the tragedy.
For one, he points out that in the wake of 50-plus slain Americans, “the Islamic State’s online propaganda machine is powerful and should not be underestimated.”
“Not only has it drawn tens of thousands of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq to fight and die on behalf of the Islamic State, as well as a much larger support network that made it possible, but it has inspired supporters at home to carry out attacks like those we have seen in Orlando, San Bernardino, Paris, Belgium and elsewhere,” writes Holt for the College Fix.
Another point to ponder – it’s no surprise the gunman, American citizen and self-proclaimed ISIS terrorist Omar Mateen, chose a gay nightclub as a target.
“[E]xtreme hostility toward homosexuality is found in much of the Muslim world and is often justified by those who hold such views with reference to Islamic religious texts,” Holt stated. “Their preferred method of execution is to throw their blindfolded victim from the rooftops of tall buildings, sometimes making children carry out the execution. If the fall does not kill them, then the spectators stone the broken victim until he dies. They justify this method of execution, and the execution itself, by claiming it will cleanse the victim of their sins.”
Finally, the widespread media talking point that “right wing terrorists kill more Americans than Islamists” must be laid to rest once and for all. “Violent Jihadist Attacks” have led to far more deaths than “Far Right Wing Attacks” in the U.S. since 9/11, he noted.
“This change in dialogue is important, as we cannot begin to adequately deal with a problem until it is, at the very least, properly recognized,” Holt states. “Islamic extremism has proven to be one of the great challenges of our time.”