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Across the world, shock and condemnation at Orlando massacre

From across the world, officials and public figures are expressing condemnation and shock over the Florida mass shooting at the Pulse Orlando nightclub on June 12, when police say a gunman wielding an assault-type rifle opened fire, killing at least 49 people and wounding dozens.

FRANCE

The Eiffel Tower shined in the colors of a rainbow starting at 10:45 p.m. June 13 to honor victims of the mass shooting at an Orlando gay club.

Paris City Hall paid respects when U.S. and rainbow flags flew.

France feels deeply the horror of deadly attacks after the November terror attacks on a music hall, restaurants and bars and the main sports stadium killed 130. That was preceded by attacks on a satirical newspaper and a kosher grocery store. All were claimed by the Islamic State group.

BRITAIN

J.K. Rowling says one victim of the Orlando killings worked on the Harry Potter Ride at the Universal Studios theme park.

The author tweeted a picture of 22-year-old Luis Vielma in a Hogwarts school tie, and said: “I can’t stop crying.”

Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister David Cameron have sent messages of condolence from Britain for the attack.

Buckingham Palace says the queen sent a message to President Barack Obama saying: “Prince Philip and I have been shocked by the events in Orlando. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected.”

GERMANY

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it’s important to continue with “our open, tolerant life” following attacks such as the mass shooting at an Orlando gay club.

Speaking during a visit to China on June 13, Merkel said that “we have a heavy heart” over the fact that “the hatred and malignancy of a single person” cost so many lives.

She added: “We are firmly determined, even when such murderous attacks put us into deep sorrow, to continue with our open, tolerant life.”

In downtown Berlin, dozens of people came together in front of the U.S. Embassy to mourn the victims of the Orlando shooting. People were setting white lilies and pink roses next to teddy bears in front of a rainbow flag and a U.S. flag.

“We are very much in shock, but we also want to show that nobody will succeed in intimidating us,” Joerg Steinert from the Lesbian and Gay Association said. “We’re here today to condemn this act.”

Djuke Nickelsen, carrying a bouquet of cornflowers and chamomile, said she’d come to show her solidarity with the victims and their relatives.

“I was very touched and sad these people were killed — all they did was embrace and enjoy life.”

UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF

The U.N. human rights chief has denounced the mass shooting.

Zeid Ra’ad Hussein, commenting at the opening of the three-week Human Rights Council session in Geneva, chronicled a number of human rights abuses and concerns.

He added: “I also condemn with the greatest possible force the outrageous attacks by violent extremists on innocent people, chosen at random, or because of their presumed beliefs, or opinions, or — as we saw — their sexual orientation.”

CYPRUS

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has condemned the Orlando attack, saying that such “cowardly attacks” incite the revulsion of the international community.

In a written statement, Anastasiades said the killings further galvanize the world’s determination to combat terrorism.

Anastasiades also expressed his and his government’s condolences to the victims’ families, the government and the American public.

ISRAEL

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin says in a letter to President Barack Obama that Israel stands “shoulder to shoulder with our American brothers and sisters” after the attack on the LGBT community. Rivlin sent his condolences, saying there is “no comfort for those who have had their loved ones torn away from them.”

The Orlando attack has dominated news in Israel, which has seen a wave of Palestinian attacks in recent months.

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah says the mass shooting in U.S. history is a “senseless act of terror and hate” and that “Palestinians stand with the American people in this difficult time.”

The statement made no direct reference to the LGBT community. Homosexuality is deeply taboo in the conservative Palestinian society. Gay Palestinians tend to be secretive about their social lives and some have crossed into Israel to live openly safely.

The sentiment is reflected throughout the Arab and Muslim world. In Saudi Arabia, judges can issue the death penalty for same-sex relations.

AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah told the Cabinet as he opened the weekly meeting live on television on June 13 that the Orlando attack “tells us that terrorism knows no religion, boundary and geography. Terrorism must be eliminated.”

He says that Afghans “do not support terrorism but the victims of terrorist attacks” and offered his condolences to the people and government of the United States. “Our hearts and minds are with our U.S. partners.” He also urged “collective actions to end such attacks.”

PAKISTAN

Pakistan’s former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf condemned the Orlando shooting, saying ‘this is a sobering reminder that extremism and terrorism are on the rise.’

Musharraf, who is facing court cases at home but left Pakistan in March for treatment abroad, says on his Facebook page the world must “address the root causes of global terrorism to suck the oxygen out of the extremist narrative of hate, intolerance, bigotry and the promotion of obscurantist ideology that is radicalizing vulnerable Muslims around the world.”

KUWAIT

Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry says the government strongly condemns the “terrorist attack” that took place in Orlando, adding that the escalation of such assaults requires a doubling down of efforts on the part of the international community to eliminate “this disgusting phenomenon.”

Last year, 27 people were killed by an Islamic State suicide bomber in Kuwait during prayer at a mosque in the capital.

QATAR

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the Orlando mass shooting and called for concerted international efforts to “face criminal acts that target civilians.”

EGYPT

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry condemned the Orlando attack “in the strongest possible terms,” and offered condolences to the American government and people. “Egypt stands next to the American people in these difficult times, offering sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.”

Egypt’s statement urged for international solidarity and a “firm, comprehensive approach to confronting terrorism, which knows no borders or religion, and is incompatible with all humanitarian principles and values.”

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

The United Arab Emirates condemned “the terrorist attack” in Orlando, expressed its solidarity with the United States and called on the international community to work to “eliminate the scourge of terrorism.”

LEBANON

Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry is strongly condemning the “cowardly” attack in Orlando, expressing solidarity with the victims and the U.S. government and blaming the massacre on the Islamic State group. It says no country or person is safe from “this global blind terrorism.”

The ministry statement says that “once more, this terrorist organization carries out a sordid terrorist act that clearly reflects the truth of its existing project based on animosity to civilization and humanity.”

The Islamic State’s radio on June 13 called the Orlando mass shooter “one of the soldiers of the caliphate in America,” though IS has not officially claimed the attack.

The Lebanese statement doesn’t explicitly mention attacks on homosexuals. But the religiously-mixed Lebanon is the most liberal among the region’s Arab nations regarding same-sex relationships, with an active LBGT community. Although technically homosexuality is against Lebanese law, activists have strongly challenged it in courts.

CHINA

China’s official Xinhua News Agency issued a statement saying President Xi Jinping had telephoned his American counterpart Barack Obama to express his condolences over the Orlando shootings.

Xi was quoted as saying that “on behalf of the government and people of China, I convey to President Obama and the American government and people my deepest sympathies, sincere condolences and deep grief for the victims.”

JAPAN

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has condemned the Orlando nightclub attack and expressed condolences to the victims and their families.

Abe told reporters in Oita that “Japan stands together with the people of the United States” and that “this despicable act of terror cannot be tolerated.”

AUSTRALIA

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the Orlando mass shooting was “an attack on all of us — on all our freedoms, the freedom to gather together, to celebrate, to share time with friends.”

He said he spoke with the U.S. ambassador to Australia, John Berry, “and formally conveyed to him Australians’ sympathy, condolences and resolute solidarity in the face of this shocking act of hate and terror.”

“Together, at home and abroad, we continue the fight against terrorism and stand up for the values of our free nations,” Turnbull said.

SINGAPORE

The mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub happened shortly after a same-sex kiss was removed from a production of the musical “Les Miserables” in Singapore, and after the government said it would look into rules of foreign funding for gay pride parades like Pink Dot.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam said on Facebook: “Another senseless shooting. ... It just goes on and on. The madness is not going to stop.”

MALAYSIA

The prime minister of Muslim-majority Malaysia, Najib Razak, said he was “horrified” by the Orlando mass shooting. “Islam abhors killing of innocent people,” he tweeted.

A few Malaysians, using pseudonyms, wrote on social media that they approved of the attack at the gay nightclub because the victims were “sinners,” but they were quickly condemned by many others.

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