[CRNI is now taking nominations for its annual Courage in Cartooning Award. Go here for information.]
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights association in the U.S., has issued a press release following the killing of two armed men apparently intent on disrupting a Texas event that included a ‘Mohammad cartoon contest.’
In its response to the incident, CAIR stated: “We condemn yesterday’s attack on an anti-Islam event in Garland, Texas, without reservation. We also reiterate our view that violence in response to anti-Islam programs like the one in Garland is more insulting to our faith than any cartoon, however defamatory. Bigoted speech can never be an excuse for violence.”
The May 3rd event believed to be the target of the gunmen, billed as “The Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest,” was held at a conference center in the Dallas-area city. The function, which included a $10,000 prize for the winning cartoon depiction of Muhammad, was organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and featured speaker Geert Wilders, leader of Holland’s anti-immigrant Party for Freedom.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in its statement listed the ‘draw Muhammad contest’ organizers and Geert Wilders alongside the gunmen as seeking “to provoke a downward spiral of mutual hostility and mistrust in America and around the world.” CAIR added: “Muslims in North Texas and across the nation are shocked and saddened by this inexcusable attack and pray for the speedy recovery of the officer injured by the attackers.”