Father of Orlando Gunman Draws Scrutiny

Screengrab courtesy of MSNBC

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By Adam Howard

In the aftermath of the deadly mass shooting this weekend in Orlando, Florida, authorities are focusing their attention on not just the suspect, Omar Mateen, but his extended family and social circle, in the hopes of determining the shooter's motives and whether he may have been provided outside support for his alleged actions.

A picture of Mateen has emerged as someone who was allegedly abusive to women, had racist and homophobic beliefs, has been investigated by the FBI for past incendiary statements, and may have been motivated to carry out the killing by an allegiance to the ideology of the ISIS terrorist organization, if not direct ties to them.

Mateen's father, Seddique Mateen, has also become a source of intrigue, because of a host of eccentric posts on social media prior to the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, which took the lives of 50 people including his son. Seddique Mateen has called the killings "tragic" and said he was "deeply saddened by it."

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While Seddique Mateen told NBC News he has no idea why his son allegedly carried out the attack, he has insisted "this has nothing to do with religion."

"We are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he was taking. We are in shock, like the whole country," he added, according to translators.

However, Seddique Mateen struck a far less conciliatory tone in a series of self-made YouTube videos, which are drawing increased scrutiny now.

According to the Associated Press, the clips — which appear to be a low budget talk show under the banner “The Durand Jirga Show” — don't boast many viewers, but do occasionally include anti-American rhetoric. In one episode, Seddique Mateen declared his candidacy for president of Afghanistan a year after the election had already taken place, while he also appeared to praise the Afghan Taliban in another.

In the past, Seddique Mateen had expressed support for current Afghanistan president, Ashraf Ghani, who appeared as a guest on his show in 2014. But some of the videos seem to suggest that Mateen believes himself to be running a "transitional revolutionary" Afghan government in exile, and that he claims to have control of his own intelligence network working to eliminate Pakistani influence in the country.

Just hours before his son allegedly carried out the massacre, his father posted a video to Facebook in which he urged the provisional government of Afghanistan to release certain political prisoners while dressed in fatigues and appearing in front of the Afghan flag.

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Meanwhile, Seddique Mateen has said that his son's recent encounter with an affectionate gay couple in Miami made him "angry" and may have pushed him over the edge. He added that his son should not have carried out the attack at Pulse — which was an establishment that catered to a predominately gay clientele — because “God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality.”

His son visited him just hours before the shooting and Seddique claims that Omar did not behave irregularly at the time, and says he didn't believe his son had any affiliation with ISIS.

"He was the usual way. I didn't see anything different. I wish I did see something that would have got my attention, this would not have happened," Mateen said, insisting that had he detected anything abnormal, he would have intervened. "He just a polite boy in coming to say hello to me and his mother and leave." Mateen went on to say that his son must have become a different person at the time of the killings.

"I am as shocked as you are. I don't approve this," Mateen told NBC News. "I hate terrorism. I hate those people — ISIS. I hate any terrorist in any part of the world. They should be destroyed."