50 people were killed and 53 injured in a ferocious attack at a the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on the night of June 11. According to police, the attack was carried out by Omar Saddiqui Mateen of Fort Pierce, a small city southeast of Orlando. No motive has as yet been determined, and no terror group has claimed responsibility. Mateen was killed by police at the scene.

Because the Pulse was a gay club, the question of whether or not the attack was intended specifically to kill people because they were homosexual must be explored. Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in Iran, by flogging in Saudi Arabia and the Taliban have executed homosexuals by burying them alive. There are Arabic sites on the internet where it is suggested that homosexuals can purify themselves by engaging in terrorist acts on behalf of their religion. The Quran’s actual statements about homosexuality are ambiguous. In a number of Suras, such as 7:80-84, Lot is called "shameless" because he "satisfies his lust" with men instead of women. 5 other suras (verses) condemn homosexuality as a sin, and Sura 4:15 states that if two men commit a "lewd act" both should be punished.

Muslim scholarship is in wide agreement that acts condemned as sins in the Quran should be punished as crimes, and with the specific reference to punishment in Sura 4:15 supporting this belief, many Islamic states have laws forbidding homosexual activity and outline punishments for it, mostly severe.

Omar Mateen had a firearm license, and used a Colt AR-15 rifle, the same type of weapon that was used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut. The AR-15 is Colt’s designation for the civilian version of the M-16. It is a lightweight, powerful weapon capable of rapid fire. AR-15s and similar assault rifles are readily available in the United States.