By The Associated Press
From across the world, officials and public figures are expressing condemnation and shock over the Florida mass shooting at the Pulse Orlando nightclub on June 12, when police say a gunman wielding an assault-type rifle opened fire, killing at least 49 people and wounding dozens.
Pakistan’s former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf condemned the Orlando shooting, saying ‘this is a sobering reminder that extremism and terrorism are on the rise.’
Musharraf, who is facing court cases at home but left Pakistan in March for treatment abroad, says on his Facebook page the world must “address the root causes of global terrorism to suck the oxygen out of the extremist narrative of hate, intolerance, bigotry and the promotion of obscurantist ideology that is radicalizing vulnerable Muslims around the world.”
Iran condemned the attack, but also made no mention of the fact that it happened in a gay nightclub.
State TV quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari as saying “Iran, based on its main policies of condemning terrorism and its strong determination to confront this ominous phenomenon, condemns the Orlando terrorist attack.”
In Iran, sodomy convictions can carry a death sentence, while lesbians can face 100 lashes, according to Human Rights Watch.
A vigil honoring those killed and wounded in a Florida nightclub shooting drew at least a dozen people to the front gate of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. Participants passed around white and yellow candles to light in memory of those killed.
“We are distraught by what happened in Orlando,” said Paisarn Likhitpreechakul, the vigil’s organizer. “We are looking for a way to express our condolences and solidarity with the people and government of the United States to raise awareness of problems of violence against the LGBT community.”
U.S. Ambassador Glyn T. Davis came out to speak with the Thai LGBT activists and lit a candle.
Separately, Thailand’s Royal Palace released a message to President Obama from King Bhumibol Adulyadej expressing sympathy and condolences to him and the bereaved families “for their irreparable loss caused by this shocking incident.”
Indonesia’s foreign ministry said the government condemns the attack and extends deepest sympathy to the families of victims and the American people.
But Fahri Hamzah, the deputy speaker of Indonesia’s parliament, tweeted that the mass killing happened because LGBT people are too visible. Anti-gay rhetoric by officials has been increasingly common in the world’s most populous Muslim nation over the past year, fueled by army leaders and conservative religious groups who view homosexuality as an import from the West. Hamzah was recently booted out of his party for ethical violations.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency issued a statement saying President Xi Jinping had telephoned his American counterpart Barack Obama to express his condolences over the Orlando shootings.
Xi was quoted as saying that “on behalf of the government and people of China, I convey to President Obama and the American government and people my deepest sympathies, sincere condolences and deep grief for the victims.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has condemned the Orlando nightclub attack and expressed condolences to the victims and their families.
Abe told reporters on June 13 in Oita that “Japan stands together with the people of the United States” and that “this despicable act of terror cannot be tolerated.”
The mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub happened shortly after a same-sex kiss was removed from a production of the musical “Les Miserables” in Singapore, and after the government said it would look into rules of foreign funding for gay pride parades like Pink Dot.
Law Minister K. Shanmugam said on Facebook: “Another senseless shooting. … It just goes on and on. The madness is not going to stop.”
The prime minister of Muslim-majority Malaysia, Najib Razak, said he was “horrified” by the Orlando mass shooting. “Islam abhors killing of innocent people,” he tweeted.
A few Malaysians, using pseudonyms, wrote on social media that they approved of the attack at the gay nightclub because the victims were “sinners,” but they were quickly condemned by many others.