- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The mayor of Garland, Texas, on Tuesday blasted Pamela Geller, the organizer of a free-speech event that was attacked by two gunmen over the weekend, saying her decision to hold a Muhammad cartoon drawing contest “put my police officers, my citizens and others at risk.”

Mayor Douglas Athas said he wished Ms. Geller, co-founder and president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, hadn’t picked Garland as the site for Sunday’s event, the Dallas Morning News reported.

“Certainly in hindsight, we as a community would be better off if she hadn’t,” he told the paper. “Her actions put my police officers, my citizens and others at risk. Her program invited an incendiary reaction. She picked my community, which does not support in any shape, passion or form, her ideology.

“But at the end of the day, we did our jobs,” he added. “We protected her freedoms and her life.”

Garland police killed two gunmen who opened fire Sunday on a security guard outside Ms. Geller’s event, where Dutch politician Geert Wilders was the keynote speaker. A $10,000 prize was offered for the best caricature of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, whom Islamic law bans the practice of drawing. The security guard’s injuries were not life-threatening.

At least one of the suspects slain in the attack is reported to be an Islamic State sympathizer. Elton Simpson had been convicted of a terror-related charge in 2011, which landed him on the federal no-fly list. The Islamic State terror group has taken responsibility for the attack, prompting a federal investigation into the claim.

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