Was The Muhammad Cartoon Contest A Tit-For-Tat Response To An Earlier Rally In The Same Building?

According to USA Today, The Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest at the Curtis Culwell Center, outside Dallas, was coming to a close Sunday night when two suspects drove up to a parking lot entrance blocked by a patrol car.

A man named Elton Simpson and a man named Nadir Hamid Soofi shot an unarmed security guard outside the “drawing contest” at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland Texas, a suburb of Dallas.

The drawing contest was held to draw cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. The two men were then shot dead themselves.

The contest was the brainchild of the “virulently anti-Muslim Pamela Geller,” writes the Daily Beast. She is the co-founder of a group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

Garland is just outside of Irving, Texas, which endorsed Texas House Bill 562 – an anti Sharia Law bill to prohibit Sharia law from coming to Texas.

So it seems that in Garland there was a meeting of extremes. Was the cartoon contest a tit-for-tat response to another meeting?

Last January there were demonstrations outside the Curtis Culwell Center as Muslims met inside for a “Stand With The Prophet” conference.

It was just a few weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, and Muslims in Texas were holding a conference there on “Islamophobia” amid concerns that rising anti-Islamic sentiment would affect them in their adopted home.

Pamela Geller and several thousand protesters were there to meet them, peacefully and loudly, with a clear statement: Muslims were not welcome in Garland, the Dallas suburb.

Signs reading “Proud Texas Infidel,” “Americans Against Islam,” “Jesus is Lord,” “Not Here! Not Now! Not In My Backyard!” were just a few of the homemade signs that greeted Muslim attendees by the “gatekeepers” protesting.

For good measure, one sign read “#ARRESTOBAMANOW,” writes the Daily Beast.  (Why? What does he have to do with it?)

Demonstrators told The Daily Beast that this wasn’t personal against Muslim people but that the Muslim faith itself was incompatible with American values.

At the contest, the Texas and American flags “ran rampant across t-shirts, hats, and in tight fists, as if each attendee were a modern-day Neil Armstrong claiming the convention center for Texas, for America, for Jesus,” writes The Daily Beast.

“I’m here at this event in protest of what Islam, the Quran, and sharia law do to Muslims and non-Muslims alike,” said an attendee.

“Oh you should see my car…,” a woman named Donna Williams told The Daily Beast. “you haven’t seen my car out there? Oh, if you walk by my car, you’ll see it. It’s covered in eagles on the front, an American eagle on both sides, and a Texas flag and an American flag and the Israeli flag and a ‘we the people’ on the bumper.”

The Daily Beast writes that one cartoon featured a minimalist cartoon desert and, in the foreground, Muhammad suspended in the fetal position on a pencil skewering his entire body; another had “Islam, religion of peace” written across a man juggling severed heads; another featured Muhammad wearing a green turban with eyes that look bewitched, open-jawed snakes coming out of his neck; another had a grumpy Muhammad in black turban holding a bloody, serrated knife, captioned: “when it comes to religion…I’ve got the edge.”

The Curtis Culwell Center was reportedly teeming with police, SWAT teams, and security. The Dallas Morning News states there was a SWAT team at the convention center. People also had to pass through “multiple checkpoints and metal detectors” to get inside, writes The Daily Beast.

The inside was like a “cruise in the Caribbean—older men and women in t-shirts, baseball caps, Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and flip-flops buying books at the book table, talking in hushed voices near the windows…”

The cartoons of the prophet lined the halls; many of them violent, most of them amateur, “like a middle school cartoon contest but for grownups,” writes The Daily Beast.