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Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, insisted in interviews Sunday that his son’s violent deeds had nothing to do with religion. He said Mateen had become enraged a few months earlier at the sight of a pair of gay men being affectionate with each other.
“We were in downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music. And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry,” the father told NBC News. “They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, ‘Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that.’ ”
But one friend said Mateen became steadily more religious after his divorce and went on a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
“He was quite religious,” said the friend, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. Yet, he added, if Mateen had sympathies for the Islamic State or other terrorist groups, he never mentioned them.
For several years, Mateen regularly attended the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce and was there as recently as two days ago, said Imam Shafiq Rahman on Sunday.
n one video, Mateen expresses gratitude toward the Afghan Taliban, while denouncing the Pakistani government.
“Our brothers in Waziristan, our warrior brothers in [the] Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up,” he said. “Inshallah the Durand Line issue will be solved soon.”
The most recent video on Mateen’s YouTube channel shows him declaring his candidacy for the Afghan presidency. The timing of the video is strange, as it came a year after presidential elections were held in Afghanistan. Mateen appears incoherent at times in the video, and he jumps abruptly from topic to topic. His use of Dari, instead of Pashto, the language of Pashtuns, was another strange element of his presentation, given that he is discussing issues of Pashtun nationalism.
Omar Mateen was a follower of Marcus Dwayne Robertson, a former US Marine who acted as a bodyguard for the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdul-Rahman, according to news reports.
Abdul-Rahman was a spiritual leader of the CIA-backed mujaheddin in Afghanistan. In the 1980s, he “became involved with the US and Pakistani intelligence officials who were orchestrating the [Afghan] war. The sixty or so CIA and Special Forces officers based there considered him a ‘valuable asset,’ according to one of them, and overlooked his anti-Western message and incitement to holy war because they wanted him to help unify the mujaheddin groups,” The Atlantic Monthly reported.
A law enforcement official told NBC News there is no indication that Omar Mateen was in touch with terrorists overseas and nothing to indicate this was a directed attack. Also, several officials say, there's no sign that anyone else was involved in the attack, either in helping Mateen or egging him on.