ISIL claims Texas attack, first in US
BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
AP PhotoThe Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed on May 5 its first attack on US soil, a shooting at an anti-Muslim event in Texas over the weekend showcasing cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.
"Two of the soldiers of the caliphate executed an attack on an art exhibit in Garland, Texas, and this exhibit was portraying negative pictures of the Prophet Mohammed," the jihadist group said.
"We tell America that what is coming will be even bigger and more bitter, and that you will see the soldiers of the Islamic State [ISIL] do terrible things," the group announced.
It was the first time ISIL claimed to have carried out an attack in the US.
Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an U.S. Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has condemned a May 3 gun attack on exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad, while also blaming the organization and its attendees for provoking mutual hostility and mistrust.
“We condemn yesterday’s [May 3] attack on an anti-Islam event in Garland, Texas, without reservations,” CAIR said May 4 in a statement.
“We also reiterate our view that violence in response to anti-Islam programs like the one in Garland is more insulting to our faith than any cartoon, however defamatory. Bigoted speech can never be an excuse for violence,” it said.
“Muslims in North Texas and across the nation are shocked and saddened by this inexcusable attack and pray for the speedy recovery of the officer injured.”
The CAIR’s statement also said the event’s “outspoken” organizers and attendees, which included political activist Pamela Geller, author Robert Spencer, Dutch politician Geert Wilders, alongside the attack’s perpetrators, provoked “a downward spiral of mutual hostility and mistrust in America and around the world.”
US Muslim civil rights group condemns attack, holds organizers accountable
Police said two men drove up to the conference centre May 3 in Garland, Texas, where the right-wing American Freedom Defense Initiative was organising the controversial cartoon contest, and began shooting at a security guard.
Garland police officers then shot and killed both men.
According to US media reports, the two suspected jihadists were Elton Simpson, 31, and Nadir Soofi, 34, who shared an apartment in Phoenix, Arizona.
Simpson was being investigated by the FBI over alleged plans to travel to Somalia to wage holy war, court records show.
Many Muslims find drawings of the prophet to be disrespectful or outright blasphemous, and such cartoons have been cited by Islamists as motivation in several previous attacks.