Prime Minister of Iceland Sigurður Ingi Jóhannesson declared yesterday that he is in shock over the hatred Omar Mateen must have felt when he brutally attacked and killed innocent people in a gay nightclub in Orlando early yesterday morning. Fifty people were killed and 53 injured.
Sigurður told RÚV that his thoughts were with those who had lost their loved ones in the massacre. “It is horrible and tragic to think that so much hatred can build up inside one person and that it would lead to this. It is something I and we all have a hard time understanding.”
Mateen was obviously targeting the LGBT community. Sigurður said hatred against minority groups should never be tolerated. “It is absolutely unacceptable that people cannot lead their lives [any way they want to] without risking falling victims to such violence.”
One month ago the Nordic leaders visited US President Barack Obama in Washington to discuss terrorism and IS. “I know the US will handle the matter sensibly and calmly,” Sigurður stated. “This incident shows that [terrorism] can happen anywhere. Therefore, it’s important that the entire world deals with this organization and the source of hatred and hate speech that leads to such things.”
Ragnar Tómas Hallgrímsson, a journalist at Icelandic magazine SKE, said he had met Mateen during his vacation in Florida two weeks ago in Port St. Lucie where Mateen worked as a security guard. Ragnar wrote on ske.is that Mateen had seemed friendly the first time they met, making a joke about Icelandic strongmen.
Ragnar wrote that he found it strange that he had conversed with someone who would soon become a mass murderer, a man who had walked around with a gun in his belt to keep people secure.
“My thoughts are with the victims of the shooting and their loved ones. I hope that America will wake up and once and for all make sure that hateful, insane people cannot walk into a store and buy machine guns,” he concluded.