Terrorists Botch Hit on Mohammed Cartoon Meeting

An anti-Islam group posing as a free-speech society almost fell victim to a terrorist attack last night. Fortunately for the bigots, the attackers were the kind of inept fools that seem to operate with greatest frequency in the US compared with determined, competent killers. In the attack, two men drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center in Dallax, Texas, and opened fire with assault rifles. They wounded an unarmed security guard in the leg, and another guard promptly pulled his pistol and killed them both. It’s hard to say if this qualifies them as martyrs to the faith, but it certainly gives them credibility in the Idiot-of-the-Year sweepstakes.

New York-based American Freedom Defense Initiative, which doesn’t seem to be interested in any freedoms other than mocking Islam (which one acknowledges as a vital First Amendment right), was hosting a Muhammad Art Exhibit with a top prize of $10,000. Bosch Fawstin won with a drawing of the prophet saying “You can’t draw me!” to which the artist off the page is responding, “That’s why I draw you.”

This kind of thing is too much for many Muslims, ignorant of their own history. Depictions of the prophet date back to at least the 1300s, drawn by artists from the Ottoman and Mongol empires. There is no prohibition of such images in the Koran itself, and in the Hadith (the wisdom drawn from the teachings, sayings and deeds of the faith’;s founder) the case against them is spotty at best.

Still, Elton Simpson, 30, of Phoenix, Arizona, and a pal of his drove all the way from Phoenix to Dallas, more than 1,000 miles, to avenge the good name of their faith. Mr. Simpson was under FBI surveillance since 2006, and he was arrested in 2010. The charges, according to the Washington Post were “lying to agents in connection with terrorism. Authorities suspected he was trying to fly to Somalia, but Simpson claimed at the time he had intended to travel to South Africa to go to school and study Islam there.

“Following a bench trial, a judge dropped the terrorism enhancement, citing insufficient evidence. In 2011, the judge reduced the charge to making a false statement to federal officials and sentenced Simpson to three years of probation. Authorities also returned his passport, which they had confiscated after his arrest.”

Pamela Geller, who heads the AFDI and whose group is recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, emailed a statement that said, “This incident was obviously related to our event, as evidenced by the ISIS supporters on Twitter taking credit for and praising the gunmen,” she told The Post in an e-mail. “The Islamic jihadis are determined to suppress our freedom of speech violently. They struck in Paris and Copenhagen recently, and now in Texas.

“This incident shows how much needed our event really was. The freedom of speech is under violent assault here in our nation. The question now before is ‘will we stand and defend it, or bow to violence, thuggery, and savagery’?”

This journal would welcome such allies if the dedication to free speech extended beyond hating Islam. Support for journalists slain or jailed around the world would be evidence of something more, but the website offers none. Some kind of discussion of free speech on campuses would be welcome, but the website offers none. A defense of Islam where it is persecuted would be welcome, but the website offers none.

One is glad that the wounded guard suffered only what appears to be a painful wound rather than a life-threatening one. One is glad that the terrorists died. One is also glad that no innocent bystanders were harmed. One is less happy that the AFDI is still around