Metro Weekly

Pulse nightclub shooter’s first wife: My ex-husband was gay and “tormented” by his homophobic father

Sitora Yusufiy, Omar Mateen's first wife, speculates that her husband shot up a gay nightclub to earn his father's favor

Sitora Yusufiy, Photo: Crime Watch Daily
Sitora Yusufiy, Photo: Crime Watch Daily

In a new interview with Crime Watch Daily, Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen’s ex-wife says her former husband was gay and was “tormented” by his homophobic father. Sitora Yusufiy accuses Mateen’s father, Seddique, of ridiculing his son for behavior that he considered to be too effeminate.

In the interview, Yusufiy believes that Mateen’s pledge of loyalty to ISIS when he was shooting up the nightclub was a ruse. She contends that he wanted to win the approval of his father, who often publicly disparaged gays.

“When I heard that he pledged to ISIS, I immediately knew that that was nonsense,” Yusufiy says in the interview. “His father always made negative remarks about homosexuals, his father thinks that they should be punished.”

Yusufiy claims to have received clues that her former husband was gay or had homosexual tendencies.

“He was never sexually interested,” she says. “There was no sexual connection between us. All he wanted to do was have children, to fit the criteria of his father, and to make his family proud. He was never the one to initiate romance or sexual contact at all.

“He definitely led a secret life. I really feel like he was struggling to be himself, because he was gay. I really believe that he was. There’s no other way to explain him having so many dating site apps, and visiting clubs and dancing with gay men, and confiding in them.”

Yusufiy also says that Mateen’s father would consistently taunt his son for being gay.

“[Omar] would start dancing around with his sisters and gossiping. His father would tell him to stop acting like a woman and start acting like a man,” Yusufiy says. “And a few times he called him ‘coonie’ in front of me. And ‘coonie’ in Farsi means ‘gay. Omar pretended that it didn’t hurt him, but then he couldn’t let it go.”

Yusufiy says that his anger over his relationship with his father, and living a secret life, took a toll on Mateen. He then directed his anger at her, beating her and one time almost choking her to death. After the abuse continued, she managed to escape the marriage with the help of her parents.

Seddique Mateen refused to speak with Crime Watch Daily about Yusufiy’s claims. Following the Pulse shooting, the elder Mateen denounced his son’s actions, but said he does not believe his son was gay.

As for Mateen’s decision to shoot up the nightclub, Yusufiy believes that he did it to win the approval of his father.

“He went and shot so many people in the month of Ramadan, which is the holy month for Muslims, which is supposed to be sacred,” she says. “He might have thought that he was doing this for his father, to be proud of him, that he finally got rid of so many homosexuals, in this sacred month, [as if] he’s doing the work of God.”

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