Local Perspective on Texas Muhammad Cartoon Event Shooting

Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) – A police officer who fatally shot two gunmen who opened fire outside a contest for Prophet Muhammad cartoons in Texas is being credited with saving lives.

The incident has raised questions about the motives for the contest and the violent response from the two assailants.

Local Muslim leaders are reacting to the shootings Sunday night in Garland, Texas.

The two gunmen, armed with assault rifles, were killed after opening fire on officers last night outside the event in Garland, Texas.

A security guard was wounded.

Investigators say one of them is believed to be a longtime Islamic activist in Phoenix.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations in a statement released Monday said a violent response is more insulting to the Muslim faith than any cartoon.

That thought was echoed by local Muslim leaders.

ISGC Board Chairman Bassam Issa says, "I just feel very sad that things like that happen. Islam does not condone violence for any reason..no matter what."

Fewer than a 100 people were at the Culwell Center during the episode.

They were there for a cartoon-drawing contest of the likeness of Muhammad.

Some felt the event was "provocative".

It was sponsored the New York based American Freedom Defense Initiative.

Understanding Islam Da-Awah Foundation President Hammad El-Ameen says, "I think everyone knows that and anticipated that there could be some trouble by them doing that."

The head of the AFDI initiative, Pamela Geller, described the cartoon drawing contest as taking a stand for free speech.

El-Ameen says, "Everyone knows this is done to provoke some people who will go to the extreme in Islam,to retaliate against that."

Chattanooga Islamic leaders feel the local environment is more tolerate of all.

Issa says, "I’ve been living here for 41 years.I came as a kid and Chattanooga has been the most tolerate city. An exemplary city for tolerance.
 
El-Ameen says, "I think the relationship with the Muslims and the rest of the community in Chattanooga is very good."

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