Saudi king condemns Orlando shooting

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has condemned the killing of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Florida, official media said on Tuesday.


“We received with great regret the news of the armed terrorist attack in Florida and the resulting casualties and victims,” Salman said in a message of condolence to US President Barack Obama.

“We condemn and denounce this disgraceful criminal act which is not accepted by religion or international norms and conventions.”

The Islamic State group, which has also claimed attacks within Saudi Arabia, said gunman Omar Mateen acted as one of its “soldiers” in Sunday’s rampage in Orlando.

But FBI chief James Comey said there was no indication of a plot directed from outside the United States, and he was confident the gunman had been “radicalised” while consuming online propaganda.

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said Mateen had twice travelled to the kingdom to perform the umrah Islamic pilgrimage, in 2011 and 2012.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denounced bombings and shootings carried out in various countries by IS and other extremists.

It has also been accused of fostering extremism.

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic party nominee for US president, on Monday accused Saudi Arabia and its neighbours of allowing radicalism to thrive.

“It is long past time for the Saudis, the Qataris, and the Kuwaitis and others to stop their citizens from funding extremist organisations,” Clinton said in a speech.

“And they should stop supporting radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path toward extremism.”

In his message, Salman stressed “the importance of the concerted efforts of the international community to respond to all acts of violence and terrorism”.

His son, the powerful Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is currently on an official visit to the United States, also sent condolences.

Under the kingdom’s legal system, which is based on Islamic sharia law, homosexual acts can be punished by death or flogging. There have been no recent reports of executions for homosexual acts, however.