05 May Ladies, Can We Talk? Statement On the Muhammad Art Exhibit Shooting May 4, 2015
Last night two Muslim men opened fire outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland Texas, during the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) sponsored Muhammad Art Exhibit. Both attackers were shot and killed outside the building by an alert Garland Police Department officer.
AFDI founder Pamela Geller hosted last night’s pro-free speech Muhammad Art Exhibit (drawing contest) event in response to a pro-Islamic, anti-free speech meeting in January 2015 at that same location called “Stand with the Prophet in Honor and Respect” which touted the need to be “Ready to defeat Islamophobia.” No attacks, only peaceful protests, were held outside the January pro-Islamic event.
• This attack at the Muhammad Art Exhibit is a direct assault on free speech in America, a fundamental building block of liberty in American society. Free speech rights include the protection of almost all speech, including speech other Americans may not like.
• Yesterday’s attack, like the Charlie Hebdo attack, happen because some followers of Islam believe they can bully non-Muslims into following Islamic rules—including the teaching that their prophet Mohammad may not be slandered or drawn.
• Radical Islamists must hear the American message loud and clear that your bullying stops at our borders, that in America, we will exercise our free speech rights– and you cannot impose your religious beliefs on us.
• Some Americans who saw the event as insensitive are already excusing the attackers by blaming the event, asking, “what did they think would happen?” Faulting the event and not the violent attackers misses the point and the seriousness of the situation.
• Opinions about whether AFDI should have held such an event are irrelevant to the free speech issue. Self-censoring speech to appease other Americans who don’t like your words is a slippery slope toward submitting to the silencing of dissent.
• In this case, the speech in question directly challenged the Islamic edict “thou shalt not speak (about the prophet).” This is especially important speech to engage in.
• Why it matters? Islamic domination is spreading, not diminishing in the world. Silencing any criticism of Islam is one starting point toward domination, one step of instilling fear in citizens, and it must not get a foothold in America.