(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
As this world is now, we need to get on our knees and pray to God to help us. #PrayForOrlando
— Bailey Hunt (@baileyhunt01) 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.
why's everyone focusing on the fact that the shooter in Orlando was Muslim? thats not the point the point is America NEEDS stricter gun laws
— holly | 15 (@bonfirelohve) June 12, 2016
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
It doesn't matter what God the Orlando shooter worshipped. He wasn't ruled by religion he was ruled by hate.
— Linda (@lindsuck) 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 (@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.
— Rep. 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 💮 HYUCK + HYUNA DAY (@expectopotronus) 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
We can't continue being scared to live. #PrayForOrlando
— Brandon Hudson (@brandonhudson90) June 12, 2016