Two gunmen wereshot dead by Police, on Sunday night, after they opened fire on a conferenceinvolving a “draw the prophet Mohammed” contest in Garland, a suburb of Dallas,Texas. Around 7.00 p.m., the two men drove to the Curtis Culwell Center andstarted shooting at one of the event’s security guards before being killed by police. Thefirst man was shot right away and the second one was wounded and finally shotdead after he reached for his backpack. The security officer was shot in theankle and rushed to the hospital but has since been released. The 200 attendeesat the event and people in the nearby buildings were evacuated, out ofprecaution, shortly after and the bomb squad was called in to examine thevehicles but no explosives were found.

The identitiesof the two gunmen have not been released but minutes before the attack a Twitteraccount with the username “Shariah is Light” posted a message saying “may Allahaccept us as mujahideen” with the hashtag #texasttack. The account has beensuspended but several Islamic State-related Twitter accounts have postedmessages supporting the attack and the perpetrators.

The event,entitled ‘Jihadi Watch’, was organized by the American Freedom DefenseInitiative (AFDI), run by activist and blogger Pamela Geller. The AFDI has beenlisted as an anti-Muslim group by several civil rights movements and has causedcontroversy recently after buying several advertising spaces on buses acrossthe United States to criticise Islam.

The conference included a prophetMohammed Art Exhibit with a contest that offered $10,000 to the best prophetMohammed caricature. The key-note speaker was Dutch right-wing politicianGeert Wilders, known for his outspoken criticism of Islam in Western societies.In a statement to the media, Wilders said the incident was “an attack onfreedom of expression” and criticised Western societies for “being afraid ofoffending Islam” and the American Freedom Defense Initiative (ADFI) called it“a war on free speech”.