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NOLAN FINLEY

Editor’s Note: Place Orlando blame where it belongs

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

The Orlando terrorist attack was not America’s fault, nor was it triggered by bigotry or other flaws in the American culture.

This was a product of the radical Islamic group ISIS and reflects wholly the mission and twisted ideology of that outfit.

Omar Mateen was a Muslim, registered Democrat, professed ISIS loyalist and quite possibly gay. It is not likely he was motivated by objections to gay marriage voiced by socially conservative Republicans and evangelical Christians, as many on the left are trying to argue.

Rather, his action fit perfectly into the playbook of ISIS, which routinely executes gays, along with Christians and other minority groups. And it also reflects the broader homophobia in the Muslim world, where 40 Muslim majority countries consider homosexual acts a crime that, in at least 10 of them, is punishable by death.

In addition, Mateen’s father is a Taliban supporter who has recorded anti-gay and anti-America rants.

Blaming America for spawning this attack instead of the more obvious influences is disingenuous and despicably opportunistic. Both President Barack Obama and expected Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, as well as others on the left, are linking Mateen’s killings to opposition to gay and transgendered rights. They also, in their typical fashion, want to make it largely about gun control.

But the real issue, and one Obama and Clinton are avoiding like the plague, is that the administration doesn’t have a clue how to counter the radicalization by ISIS of young Muslim men who, like Mateen, are American citizens.

Easier to talk about homophobia and assault weapons bans than to take up the stickier matter of keeping a close eye on mosques where radicals are known to gather. Or to explain how federal officials lost track of Mateen despite considering him a possible terror threat for years.

At a time when our leaders should be drawing the nation together, they are instead feeding on our divisions to fuel their own political ambitions. Their knee-jerk “Blame America First” response is a greater threat to the country’s stability than anything a terrorist like Mateen could do.