The father of the homophobic Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen who massacred at least 50 people at an LGBT nightclub, has condemned the atrocity committed by his son but said he believes it is for God to enact “punishment” against gay people.
Seddique Mateen posted the video, which is in Dari, a variety of Persian language spoken in Afghanistan, on his Facebook page in the early hours of Monday morning.
Addressing the people of Afghanistan, Seddique Mateen said in the video: “I don’t know what made him [do this], I have no idea, I had no idea that he felt resentful in his heart and had gone to the gay (he uses the derogatory word hamjensbazi) club and killed men and women there,” according to a translation by the Guardian.
“I am very sad and I’ve announced this to the American people as well. Why did he do this act during this holy month of Ramadan. On the topic of being hamjensbazi, punishment and the things that they do, God will give the punishment. This is not the issue for a follower of God,” he said.
“He [Omar] that did this has greatly saddened me. I wanted you to know this. God give all youth complete health to keep the real path of the holy religion of Islam in mind,” he added.
Shortly before posting the video, Seddique Mateen told the Guardian in a phone interview that his son, who was born in New York, was an American who did not identify with their family’s Afghan heritage.
“Omar was an American and not an Afghan-American. He was born in the US and never went to Afghanistan. He attended school here, worked here and his whole life was here,” he said.
In the video, he describes his son as “a very good and well-educated son with a wife and a child”.
He described the atrocity as an “unbelievable act” that had left his family devastated and confused.
“If he was alive we could ask why he did this. He never showed any signs of mental illness or links to extremist groups,” he said. “No father or family should ever have to go through this kind pain.”
Twenty minutes into the massacre, Omar Mateen made a 911 call in which he reportedly referred both to Islamic State and the Tsarnaevs, the brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013.
The father told the Guardian: “I don’t know if he had any connections to Isis (Islamid State).”