- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2015

A 60-year-old former Marine is planning a “Draw Muhammad” art contest in New Hampshire this August, inspired by Pamela Geller’s free speech event last month in Garland, Texas, where two suspected jihadis were fatally shot by police.

Jerry Delemus, of Rochester, said the New Hampshire event has little to do with art and everything to do with fighting Shariah law and preserving the First Amendment.

“I guarantee if there weren’t Muslims actually in this country actively trying to kill people for drawing pictures of Muhammad, I’d never have an art contest to draw Muhammad,” he told a local ABC affiliate.

Depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad is considered sacrilegious by Muslims.

“I don’t care if it’s stick figures to be perfectly frank with you,” Mr. Delemus said of potential contest entries.

“It’s a political statement that we’re America, we’re free,” the veteran added. “And we can do things that offend one another. As a Christian, they do all kinds of ugly things about my faith. But I’ve never wanted to kill someone about it. So I’m hoping it comes out peaceful. But I just want the dialog to be had.”

On May 3, police killed two gunmen and a security guard was injured outside of Ms. Geller’s “Draw Muhammad” art contest in Garland, Texas. Many in the media condemned Ms. Geller for inciting violence and putting people’s lives in danger.

Despite the risks in holding such a controversial event, Mr. Delemus doesn’t think he’s putting others in harm’s way.

“I’m not forcing anyone to come. That’s Shariah law,” he told ABC. “I’m sure they’ll know with the news media coverage there’s a risk involved.”

He said he won’t allow any offensive drawings of Muhammad. The event is planned for late August and Mr. Delemus said it will be privately held with lots of security.

Rochester police Capt. Gary Bordeau said authorities would take reasonable precautions and address concerns, ABC reported.

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