(JTA) — Two gunmen were shot dead by police after they fired toward a Texas building that was featuring an exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad organized by an anti-Islamic organization.
A security guard was injured in the leg by the gunmen in the Sunday night incident, which occurred at the end of the event at a community center in Garland. There were no injuries among the 200 people in the center. Police checked the gunmen’s car for explosives.
The Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest was organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative headed by Pamela Geller, who recently sued the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority to force the agency to run the group’s ad on buses and subways. The ad showed a Palestinian man wrapped in a traditional keffiyeh saying “Killing Jews brings us closer to Allah.”
“This is war on free speech,” Geller said in a Facebook post following the attack. “What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters?”
The keynote speaker was the anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who late last month spoke on Capitol Hill at the invitation of Reps. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Louis Gohmert, R-Texas.
More than 350 caricatures of Muhammad were submitted to the contest.
The Anti-Defamation League deplored the attack in a statement issued Monday.
“No matter how offensive an event or program may be, there is no place in our community or our country for such violence,” Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, and Roberta Clark, its North Texas/Oklahoma regional director, said in a statement.