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MS Congressman, LGBT, Muslim Communities Discuss Florida Mass Shooting
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Police officers direct family members away from club shooting
Courtesy:NPR

A Mississippi Congressman joins the state's LGBT and Muslim communities in speaking out about the mass shooting in Florida. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.

Mississippi's LGBT community is mourning the mass shooting that left 49 people dead and 53 injured at a gay club in Florida over the weekend. The shooter, twenty-nine year old Omar Mateen, claimed allegiance with ISIS and expressed his dislike for the gay community. He died in a gun battle with police. Rob Hill is with the Human Rights Campaign of Mississippi. He's concerned volatile political debates in Mississippi and nationwide over gay marriage and transgender issues are having a negative influence on people willing to act out their biases. 

"Things like this attack on LGBT people makes us feel certainly less safe and even more vulnerable to violent attacks and you know we don't want things like this to influence other people," said Hill. 

Hill wants political leaders to be more thoughtful in the language they use when discussing LGBT issues. Emad Al-Turk Co-Founder of the International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson says they are condemning the heinous crime. 

"They don't represent Islam or the message of what Islam teaches because it actually teaches tolerance, love and compassion for your fellow human beings," said Al-Turk.

Al-Turk, believes it's time for political leaders to have a national debate about Middle East policies and include Muslims of goodwill. Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the Committee for Homeland Security agrees.

"And that makes good sense. There are a lot of people who are talking about banning travel by Muslims coming to the U.S. But we can't forget this gentleman was born in the United State," said Thompson.

Congressman Thompson says detecting people who act alone like Omar Mateen is what keeps law enforcement officials up at night.