Texas shooting scene.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Provocative housewife-turned-blogger and leader of the American Freedom Defense Initiative Pamela Geller said that Islamic State is seeking to kill her for failing to adhere to Sharia blasphemy laws.
Geller's Monday launch of a Texas art exhibit depicting illustrations of the prophet Muhammad was not favored by two extremists who showed up at the event with guns and opened fire at the exhibit's opening. The men were soon after shot to death by security forces on site.
US police investigators believe the two men were "lone wolf" operatives who were radicalized partly by themselves and partly through long-distance engagement with operatives overseas, and not directly linked to Islamic State.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the incident, and, according to Geller, has been posting threats against her on their website.
In their threats, Islamic State vows to "send all our lions to achieve her [Geller's] slaughter," issuing a warning to those who should choose to house or protect her and "her circus show."
According to the Washington Post
, the terror group said Monday's shooting was "only the beginning," and that with an arsenal of 71 trained operatives scattered in 15 states, more attacks would follow.
Geller told the Post
that she is not taken aback by the threats.
"I knew what the stakes were when I started planning the cartoon contest," she said, "but it had to be done...the jihadis had to be shown that at least some Americans will not bow to violent intimidation."
Investigators are in the process of evaluating the validity and legitimacy of the threats against Geller, the Post
reported. In the meantime, she has taken private security measures to ensure her safety in the wake of such threats.
Since the attack, Geller has been faced with accusations in the media of promoting hate speech, according to the Post
. She's been called "un-American," criticized for putting the lives of security forces on the line, and blamed for offending the Muslim population.
Geller said such media attention encourages terrorists by "cheering on the Islamic State" through their focus on her denouncement rather than on that of the jihadis. She added that by shifting their focus away from the freedom of speech she is fighting for, the media is essentially aligning itself with the likes of Islamic state.
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