JERUSALEM, Israel – Many in the mainstream media propose a number of reasons why Omar Mateen murdered 49 innocent people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Some say he was homophobic. Others say he was unstable and beat his wife or had easy access to guns. Still others claim he was not religiously motivated.
But ISIS and other Islamic groups believe and teach that homosexuals are people they consider worthy of death and terror itself has a great goal.
"There are many, many countries in the modern world of Islam, including Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Brunei and others in which homosexuality is illegal and it is punished by capital punishment," Islamic scholar Moshe Sharon told CBN News.
Both the Koran and the Hadith, the traditions of Islam, condemn homosexuality. In the Hadith, it says, "Whoever you find committing the sin of the people of Lot [homosexuality], kill them, both the one who does it and the one to whom it is done."
Sheikh Yousef al Qaradhawi, one of Sunni Islam's top scholars, says while a debate exists on the punishment, there is no disagreement on the crime.
"Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement," Qaradhawi said. "The important thing is to treat this act as a crime."
ISIS is very clear on the punishment. For example, in December 2014, the terror group executed a man for homosexuality near the border of Syria and Iraq, quoting the Hadith in sentencing him to death.
It said in part, "The Islamic Court in al-Furat Province sentenced a man who performed acts of the people of Lot – homosexual acts – to be cast off the highest place in the town and then stoned to death." In other instances, ISIS jihadists beheaded homosexuals.
"By targeting gay people, he has not just ISIS celebrating him. He will have groups that don't even like ISIS that are celebrating him and supporting him because of whom he targeted," Ryan Mauro, with The Clarion Project, told CBN News. "In terms of targeting gays, this is nothing new. The scale is new. Having this many people killed in one attack is new. But the idea of going after gay people is not new and it's quite popular in the Muslim world unfortunately."
Iranian imam Sheikh Farouk Sekaleshfar discussed the punishment for homosexuality during a 2013 appearance at the University of Michigan.
"Death is the sentence," Sekaleshfar said. "We know. There's nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence. In an Islamic society when people want the law of Islam to rule they have to execute it."
Meanwhile, Sharon says the Orlando terror attack should be understood in the larger context of Islam: to rule the world.
"Now it looks ridiculous when you say Islam wants to rule the world. But as far as these people are concerned, this is the ideology. Now if you can rule the world by attacking a gay club in one place and you can attack a restaurant in another place and in a third place you can attack a theater, so you have done your job," Sharon explained.
"That's exactly what you want to do," he continued. "You want to put people in fear. You create a situation where they cannot live a normal life. And that is exactly what Islamic terror would like to do – is to create a situation where your life, the life of the normal person is not normal anymore."