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Muslim Leaders Condemn Garland Violence, But Some Say Community Could Do More

Stella M. Chávez
This car was used by the shooters who attacked the Garland exhibit Sunday evening, rifles drawn.

American Muslims have condemned Sunday night’s violence in Garland. What additional steps could the Muslim community take?

Ibrahim Hooper, with the Council on American Islamic Relations, has heard it before. Muslim extremists allegedly commit violence and some say his community stays silent. He says that’s not so.

“With all Americans, we’re shocked and saddened by this attack,” Hooper said. “It’s obviously not representative of the American Muslim community or the faith of Islam. We believe in freedom of speech, even hate speech.”

Anne Marie Weiss-Armush has heard it before too. She runs DFW International Community Alliance, a network of at least 1,600 global groups in North Texas. She says a show like the provocative “Draw the Prophet” exhibit might have no support if Muslims were better known to their North Texas neighbors.

“If mayors hear from the local mosque, if Muslims are active volunteers in the community showing they are like every other immigrant group, they’re trusted and an important contributing part of America. Then we don’t fear them,” Weiss-Armush said.  

Sunday night was described as a free speech event sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. Its founder, Pamela Geller, told CNN a few years ago she had a growing fear of blasphemy laws and increasing sharia. 

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.