Religious groups and LGBT communities must communicate better, urges Dhunna

'Bring communities together and talk away from computers', journalist Asad Dhunna calls for more open LGBT chat

Vigils have been held around the world for victims of the Orlando shooting

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

After reports that Omar Mateen, the man behind the Orlando gay nightclub shooting, was a regular at the Pulse nightclub, journalist Asad Dhunna has called for people to talk about LGBT issues more openly.

Witnesses have claimed that Mateen attended the nightclub, that he once pulled a knife after being offended by a religious joke, and that he used dating apps aimed at the gay community.

"I'm not wholly surprised by [the reports], but I think we will never know the answer unless a former lover comes out and tells a story, and even then you have to look at that with a slight edge," said Dhunna, who is a both gay and a Muslim.

"Given where we are, and that he's no longer alive, we'll never know the answer," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer.

The blogger explained that many Muslims don't feel they can be openly homosexual.

"Within the Muslim world there's homophobia, and in then within the gay world there's a look at faith and trying to understand how faith and sexuality can work together.

"Many Muslims live in a sham marriage or a marriage that's unhappy. That doesn't just happen in the Muslim community but it happens quite broadly."

He calls for better communication about the issue.

"People – step away from the keyboards, step away from hashtags and just talk to one another," he appealed. "Bring communities together and talk, away from computers, because that really is the way to heal and move forward.

"As soon as [the issues] are discussed openly, the person who opens up feels they're not alone."