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Islamic leader, respected pastor share views on Orlando tragedy

Each has a different call to action to counter hate-filled violence

SAN ANTONIO – Having watched the news coverage of America’s worst mass shooting, a local leader of San Antonio’s Muslim community and a respected pastor and author said they were still trying to come to terms with the massacre in Orlando, Florida.

“According to the Bible, the original terrorist is the Devil,” said Max Lucado, pastor of Oak Hills Church. “The Bible points the finger directly on the chest of the Devil himself.”

Lucado said anytime religion is used to inflict terror, “That is the ultimate tool of the Devil. It’s his oldest trick and he’s pulled it out again.”

“We’re back to square one,” said Sarwat Husain, local president of the Council on Arab-Islamic Relations. “Some lone wolf does something like this and the whole community is blamed for it and then we get on the defensive yet again.”

Yet Omar Mateen, who was killed by law enforcement officers ending the standoff at the popular gay nightclub, was not considered a practicing Muslim.

“This man has nothing to do with Islam because Islam does not teach hate,” Husain said.

She said like some other religions, Islam does not condone the LGBTQ lifestyle, “But they have a right to lead their own lives. That is between them and their creator.”

Husain said rather than someone’s religion, “They should be more focused on mental illness and gun control.”

She said if not, tragedies like the ones in San Bernardino, Boston and now Orlando, are sure to happen again and again. 

WEB EXTRA: Max Lucado and Sarwat Husain explain what unites people and the message it carries.

Husain said she was stunned to learn that Mateen was able to legally buy the assault weapon and Glock  pistol used in the massacre, despite being interviewed by the FBI at least twice.

Lucado said, “What we need to do is pray. What we need to do is pray for some leaders who would come forth with a message of unity and a message of hope.”

He said at it is now, “We’re just so fragile and angry.”

Lucado said being at peace with God can help people find peace with each other.

“The real solution to all this is not pointing fingers at a group of people, and putting labels on them,” Lucado said. “That’s exactly what the Devil would love for us to do.”