Orlando Shooting | WGLT

Orlando Shooting

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The massacre at the Orlando nightclub earlier this month lit the spark of another furious debate over gun control.

Illinois State University Assistant Professor of Politics and Government Kerri Milita has worked in Florida and is familiar with gun laws there and the constitutional issues surrounding it. During an appearance on Sound Ideas, Milita said Florida is known as the "Gunshine State," a moniker residents proudly tout.

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The mass shooter in Orlando not only killed 49 people, he struck at the heart of a place that for many in the gay community means so much more than just a watering  hole or hang out.

A prominent Illinois imam said young American Muslims who are attracted to radical groups might be motivated by a mentality of "two-fold inferiority."

Imam Rizwan Ali of the Islamic Center of Naperville said it is a mentality found in a variety of immigrant families.

"Immigrants from different backgrounds have a concept of something called two-fold inferiority. They are not assimilated with their current host country and their (former) country," the imam said.

Judith Valente

At 8:30 last Saturday evening, Zahra Abdulrehman and her sister Hibah were about to break the Ramadan fast. They hadn't taken any food during this holy season of fasting for Muslims since 3:30 that morning. Before them were plates of spicy chicken, rice, yogurt, mango, watermelon and dates.

Judith Valente / WGLT

An unprecedented encounter took place in Bloomington last week in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando at a gay nightclub.

When St. John's Lutheran Church held a prayer vigil for those killed and wounded at the Pulse nightclub, about a dozen members of the local Islamic community came to pay their respects. For many of the Muslims, it was their first time in a Christian Church.

There to greet them was Dave Bentlin of the Prairie Pride Coalition, an LGBTQ advocacy group. Among the Muslim visitors was Sheheryar Muftee of the Islamic Center of Bloomington-Normal. 

Mike Militich

The mass shooting in Orlando at a gay nightclub has provoked an outpouring of responses from religious groups. While many denominations in the U.S. embrace gay rights, others remain hostile to LGBTQ issues, grounding their beliefs in the holy writings they use.

Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Illinois Wesleyan University Chaplain Rev. Elyse Nelson Winger called on denominations that have been vocal in their opposition to homosexuals to turn down the rhetoric. Nelson Winger said even denominations that support LGBTQ rights may be unintentionally fostering an anti-gay bias by "engaging in silence."

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Around 100 people came together for a peace vigil held at St. John's Lutheran Church Wednesday night in the wake of violence in Orlando early Sunday morning.

With hymns playing softly in the background and a row of candles on an altar, Bloomington residents of many faiths joined in silent prayer for the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in the country's history. Among those who came were several representatives of the local Muslim communities. Imam Abu-Emad Al-Talla from Masjid Ibrahim of Bloomington said he is deeply disturbed by the actions of the shooter.

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The coordinator for Chicago's upcoming gay pride parade says organizers will hire dozens more off-duty police officers than they did last year after city officials asked them to beef up security in the wake of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Florida. 

Richard Pfeiffer  says 160 off-duty officers and other security professionals will work the parade. Last year there were 70.  

Terrorist attacks can occur in any city, but a leader of the local Muslim community says he believes one like the mass shooting at a gay night club in Orlando this weekend might be less likely to happen here.

Sheheryar Muftee of the Islamic Center of Bloomington-Normal says local Muslims are a tight-knit community that rejects violence.


After the attack in Orlando, the focus should not be exclusively on whether the shooter is Muslim or an Islamist, according to the Chair of the Illinois State University Politics and Government.

Dr. Ali Riaz says there are other factors that should be examined.

Michael Hill / WGLT

People in the Twin Cities gathered for a candlelight vigil to show support for the victims of a shooting at an LGBTQ night club in Orlando that claimed 49 lives. 

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The mass shooting in Orlando this weekend could end up adding to a culture of fear and exclusion that seems to be sweeping the country during  this election cycle, according to Rev. Kelley Becker of the First Christian Church of Bloomington.

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In the wake of the deadly terror attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando one leader in the gay community said he's feeling hopeful.

David Bentlin is the President of the Prairie Pride Coalition Board. The group is dedicated to the implementation of full civil rights protections for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.