(RNS) Minutes after a gunman opened fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday (June 12) in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, social media platforms were swamped with prayers for the victims:
#prayfororlando tragic situation consuming today’s news. Bless the first responders, wishing best for survivors. Thinking of those lost.
— Laurie Dunn (@ladunn07) June 12, 2016
Everyday it gets harder & harder to find peace & love in this sick, twisted world. This violent, hateful act is sickening. #PrayForOrlando
— Kacey Finch (@KaceyFinch) June 12, 2016
Police identified the gunman, slain at the site, as Omar Saddiqui Mateen, an American citizen living in Port St. Lucie, Fla. That prompted a round of posts commenting on the shooter’s religion and nationality.
Orlando shooter is a Muslim man who's religion is against gay encounters. Maybe not terrorism but religious beliefs
— Roger Marchi (@rbmarchi40) June 12, 2016
Islamic groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Florida chapter, were quick to condemn the attack, which occurred during the holy month of Ramadan:
— CAIR Florida | Council American-Islamic Relations (@CAIRFlorida) June 12, 2016
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., one of only two Muslims who serve in Congress, also expressed sadness:
Awful news coming out of Orlando. I'm praying for the victims, their families and everyone in the LGBT community.
— Keith Ellison (@keithellison) June 12, 2016
But while many asked for prayers, others used the #PrayforOrlando hashtag to express frustration, resistance and, in some cases, calls to action.
I am shaking with anger over this obvious hate crime against the LGBTQIA+ community. #prayforOrlando
— connor 🦇⚰️🍷🥀 (@honeybearsuh) June 12, 2016
This just shows how badly there is a need for gun control. This is a situation that should have never happened… #PrayForOrlando
— KᗩTᕼᗩ ᑭᗩTEᒪ (@kattt97) June 12, 2016