This past weekend, two shooters opened fire on a contest depicting pictures of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The event was hosted by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller and her anti-Muslim organization, the American Freedom Defense.
After last year’s Charlie Hebdo attack, the subjects of free speech and religion became even more intertwined. Geller’s event, however, was not about defending the First Amendment. It was simply an attempt to provoke the Muslim community.
Unfortunately, it worked. The two gunmen, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, were killed by police officers on the scene.
Prior to the event, Addicting Info reported, head of the Dallas Chapter of the Council on Islamic Relations Alia Salem had called for calm, telling fellow Muslims in the area on Facebook to “ignore and encourage others to ignore Pamela Geller” and the contest.
Salem knew what Geller was trying to do — she was simply attempting “to incite our community and rile us up and I do not want to give her the satisfaction or the media attention she thrives on. Without our reaction she has no story at all and no draw for the media which is what keeps her going and allows her to get publicity.”
“Let’s not fall for it. Please,” he wrote.
After the shooting, while on lock down, those in attendance began to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.” And of course, someone in the crowd naturally just had an American flag on them and held it up for the cameras.
Geller and her group are religious extremists. This cartoon contest was simply designed to make them look like martyrs and victims. Despite the unfortunate events that played out during it, their efforts didn’t work.
Watch footage of Sunday’s event.