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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Identity in Conflict: What Omar Mateen May Have in Common with Geert Wilders

Pondering the increasingly paradoxical information coming out about the Orlando shooter reminded me of something I read a while back about Geert Wilders (which I unfortunately can't locate at the moment). This article had argued that the virulence of Wilders's anti-Muslim position arises from his having a divided identity resulting from his own immigrant background (his mother is Dutch Indonesian), resulting in insecurity about his own belonging in Dutch society.

Omar Mateen may have faced something similar, with even more of an element of double bind: encountering hostility from other Americans because of his Muslim-ness, and at the same time struggling with a sexual identity that he'd been taught to see as antithetical to his ethnic and religious heritage. The experience of Islamophobia might only have intensified his sense of guilt over his same-sex attractions, seeing these feelings as betrayals of an identity especially in need of defense.

I suspect he made no serious plans to evade police after committing his crime. His self-loathing was likely such that he felt he deserved to die anyway.

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