A former co-worker of Omar Mateen says he was “a devout Muslim” who prayed several times during his shifts at the security company where they both worked.
Monday night, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly spoke with Daniel Gilroy who worked with Mateen for about a year at a security company. Gilroy tells Kelly he and Mateen were alone each work day during a shift change and that Mateen made bigoted remarks on every single occasion they were together. After 8 months of this, Gilroy finally went to his supervisor to report what was happening.
Asked why he waited so long to report Mateen, Gilroy replied, “I wanted to make the job work. I wanted to keep the peace. I wanted to not be the trouble-maker at work.” But the company didn’t fire Mateen so after four months or requesting a transfer, Gilroy quit. Asked if he was surprised to learn Mateen had carried out the attack in Orlando, Gilroy replied, “No, not at all.”
Later in the interview Kelly asked Gilroy if he ever heard “any religious references” from Mateen or whether his remarks were simply biogted. Gilroy replied, “Our conversations were biogted and sexist but his religious activities was…he would bring a prayer mat with him and he would pray right in front of me.” Gilroy continued, “He would kneel down and chant and kiss objects and put on different…I think he put on a hat while he did that. And he did that for about ten minutes…a couple times during the shift. He was a devout Muslim.”
This seems to contradict a claims made by Mateen’s father after the shooting. Mir Seddique told NBC News, “This had nothing to do with religion.” Seddique speculated that his son became angry after seeing two gay men kissing in Miami a couple months earlier.
WATCH: Father of shooter in Orlando club tells NBC News: “We are apologizing for the whole incident”https://t.co/SJiy3pFAYJ
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 12, 2016
Multiple witnesses say Mateen was a semi-regular at Pulse, the gay nightclub where he would eventually murder 49 people. He was likely to have seen gay men kissing long before this alleged incident in Miami a couple months ago. Nevertheless, the media has begun speculating that perhaps Mateen’s religion wasn’t a big factor in the attack. This tweet from a Politico contributor sort of sums up the mood:
What happens on the right if Mateen really was motivated by his tortured sexuality and not his religion?
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) June 14, 2016
My own take on that question is that for Mateen to be “tortured” by his sexuality he would need to feel it was at odds with something else that was very important to him. In this case what could that something else be if not his religion? In short, torture requires a torturer. The ideology of ISIS, which Mateen embraced during a 911 call that took place after the shooting had started, certainly fits the bill.