Shots at Mohammed cartoon contest

Published: Monday 4th May 2015 by The News Editor

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A provocative contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed a Dallas suburb is on lockdown after police reported a shooting outside the building.

An officer dressed in SWAT gear took the stage toward the end of the event at the Curtis Culwell Centre in Garland and told attendees that a shooting had occurred. He said one officer and two suspects were shot.

It was not immediately clear if the shooting was related to the event.

Garland Police Department spokesman Joe Harn declined to confirm the SWAT officer’s statements and said he had no details.

Attendees were taken to another room, and the authorities said later that the group would be moved to a nearby school.

The New York-based American Freedom Defence Initiative (AFDI) was hosting a contest that would award 10,000 dollars (£6,600) for the best cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad at the venue.

Such drawings are deemed insulting to many followers of Islam and have sparked violence around the world.

According to mainstream Islamic tradition, any physical depiction of the Prophet Mohammed – even a respectful one – is considered blasphemous.

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 Mohammed.

Pamela Geller, president of the AFDI, said she planned the event to make a stand for free speech in response to the outcries and violence over drawings of Mohammed.

Her group is known for mounting a campaign against the building of an Islamic centre close to the World Trade Centre site on New York City, and for buying advertising space in cities across the US criticising Islam.

Published: Monday 4th May 2015 by The News Editor

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