(/sites/default/files/uploads/2015/05/150504-simpson-soofi-mugs-712p_c5b7223332af13ff5941483ad1826807.jpg)A former terror suspect previously known to the FBI was one of the two men killed in the shootout at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, TX during the Mohammed Art Exhibit and Contest organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).
Elton Simpson of Arizona was an American Muslim convicted five years ago of lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Africa. Despite that conviction, U.S. District Judge Mary Murguia wrote that there was “insufficient evidence to support that the false statement ‘involved’ international terrorism.” Simpson got three years probation.
Police believe Simpson was the same man who sent out a series of tweets from a now suspended “Shariah is Light” Twitter account. That account also contained the image of Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Islamist imam killed in Yemen in 2011 by an American drone strike. A screen grab from that account makes it clear Elton embraced radical Islam. “The bro with me and myself have given bay’ah to Amirul Mu’mineen. May Allah accept us as mujahideen,” it stated, above the hashtag #texasattack.
That last message was sent out approximately a half hour before the shooting. Prior to the attack, the Shariah is Light account also tweeted a command to follow “AbuHussainAlBritani,” another Twitter account that tweeted both before and after the attack. “The knives have been sharpened, soon we will come to your streets with death and slaughter!” was a message sent prior to the assault. After it, the account began tweeting praise for the gunmen, and linked their efforts to ISIS. “Allahu Akbar!!!!! 2 of our brothers just opened fire at the … art exhibition in texas!” one tweet stated. “Kill Those That Insult The Prophet.” The other tweet provided the linkage to ISIS. “They Thought They Was Safe In Texas From The Soldiers of The Islamic State,” it said. This account has also been suspended.
Al-Britani, born Junaid Hussain, is a computer hacker who joined ISIS and helped fund their efforts via cyber attacks on British banks and celebrities. He is also one of three men suspected of being ISIS’s chief executioner, aka, Jihadi John, responsible for the murders of American journalists James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and Peter Kassig, as well as British aid workers David Cawthorne Haines and Alan Henning.
On Sunday night and early into Monday morning, FBI agents and a bomb squad descended on Simpson’s residence at an apartment complex in north Phoenix, reportedly using a robot to conduct the initial search, as agents feared the home might contain explosives. The second attacker was identified as Nadir Soofi, who shared an apartment will Elton.
Both attackers pulled up to the event armed with assault rifles and wearing body armor shortly before7 p.m. local time. Emerging from the vehicle they fired shots at 57-year-old Bruce Joiner, a security guard hired for the event. Joiner was hit in the ankle, taken to the hospital in stable condition, and subsequently released.
Seconds after the attackers fired, an as-yet-to-be-named Garland police officer returned fire, killing one of the men and then the other as he reached for his backpack that police had feared was filled with explosives. An investigation of the car they were driving ensued shortly thereafter. “It’s a very slow, tedious operation that’s going on,” Garland police spokesman Joe Harn said. “They may be even having to X-ray different things.” Later it was reported no explosives were found in the car, only luggage and extra ammunition.
After the shooting, Geller expressed rage on her blog. “This is a war,” she wrote. “This is war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters?”
Apparently some media outlets are willing to do just that—when they’re not busy reminding Americans, as the LA Times and _Reuters_ did, that the radical leftist Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the ADFI as an anti-Muslim hate group. Or, as a headline at reality-challenged the _New York Times_ framed it, “Official Identifies One Suspect in Attack at Texas Anti-Islam Event.” Moreover, as key event attendee Robert Spencer noted on his Jihad Watch website, the “vile Sharia-adherent cowards and trimmers” at Britain’s Daily Mail first reported the story with blacked-out images of the contest’s cartoons—before removing them entirely. “This only shows the jihadis that violent intimidation works,” Spencer writes. “Threats and murder work. To kowtow to that is the opposite of journalism and what journalism is supposed to be.”
Geller echoed those sentiments. “The media is self-enforcing a Shariah,” she said. “Under the Shariah you cannot criticize or offend Islam.” Dutch politician and the event’s keynote speaker Geert Wilders was even clearer. “Never surrender to terrorism!” he tweeted following the attack.
The “Draw Mohammed” contest was precisely an effort to challenge the West’s continuing efforts at self-censorship. The Garland Independent School district cultural center was booked for the event just over a week after Islamic terrorists massacred 12 people at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. It was allowed to go forward despite concerns voiced by local residents, Muslim and non-Muslim, that it would put public safety as risk. The AFDI addressed those concerns by spending $10,000 on 40 additional security officers. Albanian-American cartoonist Bosch Fawstin won the contest and was awarded $12,500 grand prize for his cartoon depicting an angry Prophet Mohammed stating, “You can’t draw me,” even as it shows the hand of the artist and his response, “That’s why I draw you.” More than 200 people attending the event were inside the arena when the attack unfolded, and didn’t know about it until afterwards.
The attackers’ bodies remained on the scene well into Monday morning as the focus turned to Geller, whom the BBC made sure to point out that her critics consider her a “bigot” because she has the temerity to stand against radical Islam. That stand began with her staunch online opposition to Park 51, the mosque and community center that upset many people who found the siting of it so close to where the World Trade Center once stood offensive. Her latest effort, a NYC anti-jihad ad campaign on city buses has roiled the delicate sensibilities of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) official, who refused to run the ads.
After Manhattan federal Judge John Koetl ruled in April that the AFDI should be allowed to run the ads, based on the free speech rights enshrined in the First Amendment, the the MTA voted 9-2 last week to suspend all political advertising. Staten Island board member Allen P. Cappelli, who voted against the ban, was disgusted. “It is offensive to me as a citizen that the board would even be considering taking such a radical approach to deny the constitutional rights of New Yorkers,” he declared. AFDI will challenge the ban in court.
Geller was clear about why she organized the Garland event. “We draw Muhammad because we are free… We draw Muhammad because our unalienable rights are enshrined in the First Amendment,” she insisted. Regardless, Geller is labeled as an Islamophobe by leftist here and abroad apparently more than willing to embrace the Islamic concept of second-class existence known as “dhimmitude”—along with all the self-inflicted, impotent silence that accompanies it. Authorities are still reticent to label the incident a terrorist attack, but “obviously (the gunmen) were there to shoot people,” said Harn during yesterday’s press conference. It is precisely that reticence that makes the efforts of Geller and the AFDI so vitally necessary.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.