Tuesday, June 14, 2016, By Ben Kleine ~ Southeast Missourian
The shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, will have ramifications beyond the dozens of people who were killed or injured, and Cape Girardeau’s LGBTQ community members feel they and non-LGBTQ communities need to stand closer together.
“It’s the whole community. They all need to stick together,” Independence Place bartender and entertainer JT Masters said. “Yes, it hit the LGBT community, but it affected the straight community.”
LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.
Independence Place will hold a vigil for the victims of shooting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday outside its bar off at Independence Street and Henderson Avenue.
The bar’s performers then will hold a benefit show that night, Masters said.
Proceeds will go to a GoFundme page for the Pulse Victims Fund, which has raised more than $2.4 million, and to the city of Orlando.
Masters said it is important to remember the victims in the shooting were real people, not statistics.
He said he believes, however, all the people who were killed would want LGBTQ people around the country to continue to have fun.
“To be honest, I think there’s going to be mixed feelings,” Masters said about the benefit show Thursday. “Yes, it’s going to be hard to enjoy ourselves, but it is what they would have wanted. The show must go on, and we have to keep going.”
Masters said there will be increased security Thursday at Independence Place.
He said the shooting at Pulse could have happened at any club.
The Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau is donating money to ICNA Relief, a Muslim organization that provides aid to disaster victims and their survivors.
ICNA Relief also was setting up a blood drive in Orlando.
Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau representative Ahmad Sheikh said about $25,000 has been raised by Muslims from all over the country to ICNA Relief.
“We condemn this act of violence,” Sheikh said. “We stand in solidarity with the victims.”
Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Florida, was identified as the man responsible for killing at least 49 people.
News reports have stated Mateen was a practicing Muslim and claimed an allegiance to the Islamic State during communications with the police Sunday morning.
Sheikh said, however, Mateen was not following the teachings of Islam.
“If an innocent person is killed, it is as though he is killing all of mankind. Saving the life of one person is like saving all humanity,” Sheikh said, quoting from the Quran.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with religion,” Sheikh said. “There are people who are pushed by hate so much that they don’t think twice about killing people.”
Article Courtesy: Southeast Missourian