Two Attackers Were Shot Dead at a Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest

(via USA Today)

Well, this really and unfortunately happened yesterday.

A search for the best cartoon depiction of the prophet Muhammad was put on by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, who have been noted to fight for freedom of speech as well as specifically criticize elements of Islam, which culminated in a contest with thousands of dollars in prize money and art exhibition in Garland, Texas.

Two roommates, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi. came to the venue with body armor and assault rifles and opened fire. Simpson has been suspected of terrorist activity in the past. An officer on duty for the event shot and killed both attackers and only one other security guard was injured during the whole attack.

It’s unfortunate that any of this happened. It’s horribly unfortunate that people would ever be shot over cartoon drawings. It’s also unfortunate that many feel the need to put on the spectacle of making a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in order to exercise their freedom of speech.

As it stands now, it seems like we’re due for a vicious cycle of more cartoons of sacred icons and subsequent shootings or shooting attempts by fringe groups on either side.

We do think that freedom of speech should be defended, especially when it comes to comedy, but it shouldn’t be used as a veil for racism, jingoism, or bigotry. Rather, it should be used as a tool to talk about all those awful things and get them out in the open in the hopes that people can be enlightened about how misguided those notions are, especially when it comes to comedy.

For now, though it’s only tangentially applicable here, we can only recommend watching Aasif Mandvi’s Halal In The Family again.