Milwaukee Muslims, Political Leaders Join In Condemnation Of Weekend Attack
By Chuck Quirmbach
Leaders of Milwaukee’s LGBT community say that the killing of 50 people at a gay nightclub in Florida early Sunday morning won’t stop the community from pursuing civil rights.
At Milwaukee’s PrideFest on Sunday, a minute of silence was observed for the victims of the most fatal mass shooting in U.S. history.
Scott Gunkel, president of the company that runs the festival, said the shootings will unite the LGBT community.
“Separated by religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender fluidity, we will unite, we will unite in love, we will unite together to fight the hate and fight the violence,” said Gunkel.
State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, who said she was at the festival as a bisexual member of the LGBT community, said she’s already seen signs of greater unity.
“I had the largest group of volunteers that I’ve had in the last few years, come and stand with me and march shoulder to shoulder,” she said, describing a pride parade she marched in Sunday.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee came to PrideFest to condemn the shooting deaths in Florida.
Othman Atta said law enforcement is still looking into possible ties between the alleged shooter, Omar Mateen, and the Islamic State group. But Atta said the suspected gunman doesn’t represent Islam.
“I hate to have to do it again, but these are individuals who seem to not understand the basic principles of Islam. Just a few days ago, we were mourning Muhammed Ali, who really exemplified and was inspired by Islam and the ideas of peace and justice and so forth,” he said.
PrideFest leaders thanked the Islamic organization for its comments.
Also at the festival, a leading Wisconsin Democrat urged greater controls on gun sales.
The FBI said Mateen had legally purchased two guns in the last few days. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele told mourners at PrideFest that laws for firearm sales must be tightened.
“We need to demand, and now, bring back the assault weapons ban,” Abele said.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm wants Congress to again allow federal agents to study the impact of guns on a community, and for the state to look at the impact of Wisconsin’s concealed carry law.
“It’s a simple ask right there,” said Chisholm. “We’re asking our leadership in the country and even the state and local level to allow us to get the information we need so we can policies and effective strategies to reduce this.”
Two prominent Wisconsin Republicans, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, said nothing about gun sales in statements they released Sunday but called for renewed efforts to fight terrorism.