इंडियन आवाज़     22 Feb 2024 11:49:26      انڈین آواز
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2 killed at Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in US

Two gunmen have been shot dead after they opened fire outside a conference on cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a suburb of Dallas on Sunday, US police say.

A security guard was also injured. Police sealed off the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland and evacuated participants.

The event, organised by a group critical of Islam, was offering a cash prize for a drawing of the Prophet. Dutch anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders was among those attending.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) organised the event featuring far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who has been outspoken against Muslims.

Police said two men drove up to the conference center in Garland, Texas, near Dallas and began shooting at a security guard.

“Garland Police officers engaged the gunmen, who were both shot and killed,” the city of Garland said in a statement.

The security guard suffered injuries that were “not life-threatening,” the statement said.

Police said they suspect the gunmen’s vehicle may contain an “incendiary device” and a bomb squad is on the scene.

AFDI offered a $10,000 prize for the winner of the cartoon contest that was billed as a “free speech” event.

AFDI co-founder and political activist Pamela Geller called the shootings a “war on free speech.”

Muslims find depictions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) offensive and such cartoons have triggered violent protests, including when the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 satirical cartoons in 2005, triggering deadly protests in some Muslim countries.

The cartoons were also published in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, where gunmen killed 12 people in January.

In January, 12 people were killed by gunmen in an attack against the Paris office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had lampooned Islam and other religions and used depictions of Muhammad. Another deadly shooting occurred the following month at a free speech event in Copenhagen featuring an artist who had caricatured the prophet.

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