Wikipedia editors seem unable to agree upon whether or not the Orlando Pulse Nightclub Shooting was in fact an Islamist terrorist attack.
The discussion began following the removal of the Orlando shooting from the terrorist attack list by the Wikipedia editor known as MrX.
In explanation for this sudden removal MrX had this to say: “I have removed the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting from this list. It does not meet the stated inclusion criteria for the list. The fact that ISIL has, via their media agency, made such a claim does not make it true.”
One editor in particular, Jujutsuan, took issue with the removal of the attack, providing a comprehensive list of the criteria which the attack met which grants it a place on the terrorist attack list, the list is below
- Terror attacks… check.
- by Islamist extremists… check.
- to further a perceived Islamic religious or political cause… check.
- have occurred globally… Orlando is on earth: check.
- The attackers have used such tactics as arson, vehicle rampage attacks, bomb threats, suicide attacks, bombings, spree shooting, stabbings, hijackings, kidnappings and beheadings… check.
- The following is a list of Islamist terrorist attacks that have received significant press coverage since 1980… check.
Other editors chimed in, claiming there is a “lack of reliable sources” proving that the Orlando shooting was carried out by an Islamic extremist. CBS reported that Mateen had posted “You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance” on Facebook, while CNN reported that the shooter had “pledged allegiance to ISIS.” Yet according to some editors, these do not constitute “reliable sources” on Wikipedia.
An editor named Bastun further claimed that just because Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS, that doesn’t mean that his actions were indicative of the Islamic group.
“The world’s asylums are full of people who claim they’re Napoleon. If one of them attacks a psychiatric nurse, we don’t attribute the attack to the French Empire – even if clickbaity tabloids or reactionary sources do.” said Bastun.
Of course, if we were to follow this logic in relation to all recent terror attacks, then ISIS would be the least effective terrorist group to ever exist, having no responsibility for any terrorist attacks done in their name. As it currently stands the Orlando shooting has not been included on the list, which can be found here.
It is quite apparent at this stage that the attack was in fact a direct result of Mateen’s Islamic radicalism, and the refusal to add the Orlando attacks to the list raises questions about the political biases of Wikipedia’s editors. It wouldn’t be the first time that editors have taken action to downplay a topic’s links to Islamic extremism.