Whatever your personal feelings about homosexuality, any decent minded person will recognise that the senseless murder of almost 50 people in Orlando, Florida, was an act of violence, a crime that we stand against as Muslims.

Of course, the response was predictable. Before we knew anything about the person responsible, there was speculation that it was a “Islamic” terror attack.

But we all know it wasn’t Islamic. It was an act of cowardice, a gross misrepresentation of our beliefs.

Many of us are tired of having to explain that Islam is a religion of peace every time that something like this happens.

But even more upsetting is what we now know: Omar Mateen, the man responsible for the cold-blooded murder of 50 innocent and unsuspecting people, was himself a homosexual.

The story seems to be very clear to me. Mateen was a self-loathing gay man, who sought redemption in the eyes of God in the most terrible way possible.

This is not what our God, Allah, the God of Mercy, has ordered us to do.

But we know that people within our community are susceptible to extremist ideology when they feel helpless, outcast, and marginalised.

I am not suggesting that we endorse homosexuality. I am not asking anyone to change their beliefs.

What I am suggesting is that we, as a community, need to have the courage to have this discussion.

It is well past time for our community to have a conversation about homosexuality. I know that this is a difficult and controversial discussion, but we simply cannot afford to put it off much longer.

We need to recognise that homosexual people exist, and we need to have the strength, the faith, and the compassion to bring them into the arms of Allah.

I am constantly inspired by the generosity and the kindness of our community. Despite the widespread vilification of Muslims here and across the world, we have stood together and we have continued to do what is right.

So isn’t it time that we tried to help homosexual people instead of hurting them?

Everyone has a place with Allah. We should be doing everything that we can to bring them closer to Him.

And even though it may be difficult, that means we must love our homosexual brothers and sisters, no matter what our opinions may be.