In the weeks that followed the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, the American Freedom Defense Initiative booked the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Dallas for a free speech event offering a $10,000 cash prize to the person who could draw the best caricature of Mohammed, Islam’s revered “prophet.”
Any depiction of Mohammed is considered blasphemous by Muslims. The Charlie Hebdo attack was said to have been prompted by critical and vulgar cartoons of Mohammed.
The AFDI paid $10,000 for extra police presence at the event, which was held last night. It appears to have been money well-spent. Two jihadis approached the cultural center and opened fire, injuring a security guard before they were shot and killed by police.
According to ABC News, officials suspect Simpson was behind several Twitter messages sent out before the attack, the last of which came half an hour before the shooting and used the hashtag “#texasattack.”
“May Allah accept us as mujahideen [those engaged in jihad],” the tweet said.
Simpson was well known to the FBI, ABC News reported. Five years ago he was convicted for lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Africa, “but a judge ruled the government did not adequately prove he was going to join a terror group there.”
Sunday’s controversial event at the Curtis Culwell Center was wrapping up shortly before 7 p.m. when the two gunmen pulled up in a car and shot an unarmed Garland ISD security officer.
Seconds later, Garland police returned fire and killed the two gunmen before anyone else was hurt.
The security officer, Bruce Joiner, was treated at a hospital for an ankle wound and released.
The bodies of the gunmen remained on the street outside the Culwell Center hours after they were shot.
For hours overnight, a bomb squad investigated whether explosives might be in the car the two suspects drove up in.
The event’s keynote speaker, Geert Wilders, was a right-wing Dutch lawmaker known for a hard-line stance against Islam.
“We are here in defiance of Islam to stand for our rights and freedom of speech,” he said during his speech shortly before the shootings. “That is our duty.”
He was greeted with a standing ovation, and he told the audience that most terrorists are Muslims, and “the less Islam the better.”
Robert Spencer, a Catholic Deacon, Islamic Scholar, Vice President of AFDI and the director of Jihad Watch, was also present at the event. In a post this morning, he related that he had predicted just such an occurrence to university students a few weeks ago. The event was described this morning by College Fix:
Three days before a shooting in which two gunmen were shot dead by police after they open fire at a Mohammed cartoon event in Texas, college students in Wisconsin were warned Islamic radicals are living in America.
Not only that, Jihad expert Robert Spencer – who was present Sunday at the event in Texas that was attacked – told University of Wisconsin Madison students in a guest appearance that ISIS and radical Islamic terrorists want to kill Americans.
He began his talk by asking students why it’s important to care about ISIS, then bluntly answered his own question: “It matters because they want to kill you.”
In his Thursday speech, Spencer said ISIS has issued orders to their members in America to murder people and “if you can’t shoot them, then run them down with your car.”
After the shooting Sunday night, Spencer tweeted: “The shooting outside our free speech event shows once again that moderate Muslims are unable or unwilling to rein in their violent brethren.”
As for Spencer, in his UW-Madison speech on Thursday, he had said he remembered a time when CIA counter-terrorism trainings included words like “Islam” and “Jihad.” But today, he added, those words can’t even be uttered in such trainings.
How does he know? Spencer used to lead some of them. But more recently he was shut down after CIA Chief John Brennan changed the policy on discussing Islam. Brennan has also publicly insisted that ISIS members are not “Islamic.”
Today, CIA members are instructed to consider ISIS members just as terrorists, criminals or thugs – not religious zealots.
“They came in and said, ‘You’ve got to get rid of Spencer and others talking about Islam,’” Spencer recalled. “You can’t mention Islam or Jihad in counter-terror training.”
He made the comments before a room of University of Wisconsin-Madison students, informing them of the political correctness that has taken hold of the Central Intelligence Agency – intellectual failures that he contends has led to the death of Americans.
Spencer, invited to speak on campus by the conservative campus group Young Americans for Freedom, told students he was extremely critical of this policy, and blamed it in part for radical Islam attacks in the United States, most notably the terror attack at Fort Hood by Major Nidal Malik Hasan and the Boston Marathon bombers.
He talked about how the government is afraid to confront very visible red flags like Hasan because they don’t want to be branded racist, bigots or Islamaphobics. Spencer was equally critical on the government in regard to the intelligence community’s failure to properly listen to warnings.
According to Spencer, the Boston bombings could have been stopped if “the FBI took the intel they got from the Russians seriously.” He was also quick to point out that the failures to combat radical Islam is not a partisan issue.
We’ve got to start taking this more seriously.
For centuries, the forces of Christendom stood as the lone bulwark against the Islamic tide. But in 1929, as the last vestiges of Christendom began to falter and find themselves replaced by a post-enlightenment, secular society, Catholic historian Hillaire Belloc made a prescient observation:
There remains, apart from the old Paganism of Asia and Africa, another indirect supporter of Neo-Paganism: a supporter which indeed hates all Paganism but hates the Catholic Church much more: a factor of whose now increasing importance the masses of Europe are not as yet aware: I mean the Mahommedan religion: Islam.
For centuries the struggle between Islam and the Catholic Church continued. It had varying fortunes, but for something like a thousand years the issue still remained doubtful. It was not till nearly the year 1700 (the great conquests of Islam having begun long before 700) that Christian culture seemed—for a time—to be definitely the master.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Mahommedan world fell under a kind of palsy. It could not catch up with our rapidly advancing physical science. Its shipping and armament and all means of communication and administration went backwards while ours advanced. At last, by the end of the nineteenth century, more than nine-tenths of the Mahommedan population of the world, from India and the Pacific to the Atlantic, had fallen under the Government of nominally Christian nations, especially of England and France.
On this account our generation came to think of Islam as something naturally subject to ourselves. We no longer regarded it as a rival to our own culture, we thought of its religion as a sort of fossilized thing about which we need not trouble.
That was almost certainly a mistake. We shall almost certainly have to reckon with Islam in the near future. Perhaps if we lose our Faith it will rise.
That terrifying time has at last arrived.
There was a time, not so very long ago, when Catholics prayed that Christ would assert Himself as “King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God.” This prayer, written by Pope Pius XI, was later supplanted with the conciliar (and conciliatory) language of Lumen Gentium and Nostra Aetate:
In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. – (Lumen Gentium #16)
The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom. – (Nostra Aetate #3)
It is in areas like this that the so-called “hermeneutic of continuity” shows itself to be more wishful thinking than reality.
What is it that we really believe about Islam?
Do we agree with Belloc, when he says that Islam was a “heresy,” and a “direct derivative from the Catholic Church”?
Do we agree with Pope Pius XI, who described Islamic beliefs as “darkness and idolatry”?
Do we agree with the opinions of the saints — especially those that confronted Islam face to face — when they called Mohammed a “false prophet”, the Islamic faith itself a “superstition” that is “a forerunner of the Antichrist,” a thing considered to be “damned”, and when they expressed a desire that “God placates his anger and destroys this pestilence from the earth“?
Or are the conciliar expressions of solidarity and inter-religious dialogue the new truth about this ideology which seems only to destroy and never to create?
Islam has already won the demographic war, even if this hasn’t finished playing out.
We have to love Muslims as sons of God, souls in need of Christ’s grace and salvation. But that does not mean we need to lie down and be slaughtered. It does not mean that we must be afraid to acknowledge the truth: that violence and Islam have always gone hand-in-hand, and that moderate Muslims, as Robert Spencer has said, “are unable or unwilling to rein in their violent brethren.”
If even 10% of Islam is radicalized, that’s over 100 million people.
What can a Catholic do? Pray the rosary for the defeat of Islam and the conversion of its adherents. Every day. Pray that world leaders will stop playing games and have the honesty to recognize the Islamic threat for what it is and confront it with just and appropriate force. Pray that Church leaders will once again turn to the wisdom of the saints and popes of generations past, and encourage prayerful resistance of Islamic ideology rather than prayer in common; and that they will begin new and substantive work on programs that will help aid in the conversion of our Muslim brethren. Pray that the blood of so many martyrs at the hands of Islamic savagery once again plants the seeds of the Church — and of conversion — in the hearts of those Muslims able to see God’s truth.
And finally, learn what you can about Islam. The truth has a way of spreading once it finds minds willing to accept it.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.