Pamela Geller defends Muhammad cartoon showcase

Source:AFP Published: 2015-5-6 19:03:01

Pamela Geller Photo:IC

Pamela Geller, the anti-Islam crusader behind a cartoon contest of the Prophet Muhammad that was attacked by two gunmen in Texas, says her controversial show was meant to demonstrate freedom of expression.

The 56-year-old New Yorker has told media that her event, held in the Dallas suburb of Garland, was put on with the goal of asserting free speech. "We will not abridge our freedom of speech in order to not offend savages," she told Fox News.

Depictions of Muhammad, such as the caricatures in her showcase, are highly offensive to Muslims.

Born to a Jewish family and raised on Long Island near New York, Geller is the president of two anti-Muslim groups: the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA).

It was the former organization that put on the cartoon contest, which came under attack Sunday by two men with assault rifles. They were shot and killed by a local policeman providing security for the event.

Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Islamic State group Tuesday, although it remained unclear whether the claim was credible.

"Clearly what happened is indicative of how very vital this conference was needed," Geller told Fox News.

"The idea that there is a violent war, (that) there is a violent assault on freedom of speech, clearly was brought home."

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