- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday called the horrific attack on an Orlando gay nightclub that left 50 dead the “new face of the war on terror.”

He noted that radical Islamists have vowed to carry out attacks on U.S. soil using individuals who take aim at “soft targets.”

“[R]ight now there’s a lot of indications that this has some links to radical Islam. I think we have to explain to people, ‘This is the new face of the war on terror,’” the Florida Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They have openly that said that they intend to target us here.”

That such an attack would be directed at the Pulse, a popular gay nightclub, should come as a surprise to nobody, said Mr. Rubio.

“We’ve seen the way radical Islamists have treated gays and lesbians in other countries. We’ve seen this punishable by death,” he said.

“We’ve seen some horrifying things they have done. If in fact this terrorist attack is one inspired by radical Islamic ideology, it is quite frankly not surprising that they would target this community in this horrifying kind of way. And I think it’s something we’re going to have to talk some more about here across the country,” he said.

FBI officials said Sunday they continue to investigate possible motives behind the early Sunday shooting, including Islamic terrorism and anti-gay animas.

Omar Siddiqui Mateen, 29, a security guard at a facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, was killed by a tactical unit at about 5 a.m. Sunday after opening fire on the crowded nightclub at about 2 a.m., then taking 30 people hostage.

The gunman’s father, Mir Seddique, told NBC News that his son became angry several months ago after seeing men kissing in Miami.

The father told NBC that his son “saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid, and he got very angry. They were kissing each other and touching each other — ‘Look at that in front of my son, they are doing that.’ Then when we were in the men’s bathroom, men were kissing each other.”

Mr. Seddique, who has apologized for his son’s actions, said he was not bothered by the displays of affection but that they may have triggered his son.

“Now looking back, maybe that’s why he went after the gay club,” Mr. Seddique told NBC, while insisting that the rampage “had nothing to do with religion.”

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