US – Two gunmen killed in shooting at Texas anti-Islam event

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SHAFAQNA – wo people have been killed and a third injured near a contest in Texas to draw the Prophet Muhammad. It wasn’t immediately clear if the shooting was related to the event.

Local media have reported that two people who opened fire outside a contest to draw the Prophet Muhammad in the US state of Texas on Sunday were shot dead.

CBS News has also reported that at least one police officer was wounded in the shooting, which occurred at about 7 p.m. local time (0000 UTC) near Dallas. The officer has reportedly since been released from hospital.

According to the Associated Press news agency, SWAT teams secured the premises as an officer took the stage toward the end of the event at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, and told attendees that a shooting had occurred. Police took about 75 attendees to another room.

Later, police escorted a group of 48 people to a school bus. Authorities planned to take attendees to a nearby high school, with a second group set to be moved shortly after.

Sketchy details

On Sunday, the New York-based American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) had been hosting a contest, “Draw the Prophet,” at the venue to award $10,000 (8,900 euros) for the best cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims consider such drawings an insult to their faith.

Interpretations of Islamic tradition have deemed any physical depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as blasphemous. The Dutch parliamentarian and far-right party leader Geert Wilders, who recently addressed an anti-Islam group in Germany, was in Garland and delivered the keynote address at the event.

AFDI president Pamela Geller said she had planned Sunday’s event in response to previous outcries over drawings of the prophet. Geller’s group has become known in the United States for using attention-getting tactics to raise awareness for their cause, the de-Islamification of the country. Tactics have included buying anti-Islam advertising space on US public transit and campaigning against the building of a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan.

Geller’s group did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment late Sunday.

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