00:46 GMT02 December 2020
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    A founding member of the North Texas Islamic Council claims that there is no significant rise of Islamophobia in the United States.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — There is no significant rise of Islamophobia in the United States, a founding member of the North Texas Islamic Council told Sputnik on Monday, following an attack at a Garland, Texas venue hosting a contest for Prophet Muhammad cartoons.

    The contest was organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an anti-Islamic organization co-founded and headed by Pamela Geller.

    "I can't say there is an Islamophobia rise in the United States. I think it is growing, though, and people like Pamela Geller would like to see it rising but for the most part American people are very considerate and very courteous," Imam Zia ul Haque Sheikh said.

    "There is small but very vocal minority that is anti-Islamic," he added.

    On Sunday, two men opened fire at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland which hosted the first annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest. The attackers were fatally shot by police.

    The event was attended by nearly 200 people. According to the Garland Police Department, a security guard sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

    In January, an attack in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine shocked the world when Islamist gunmen attacked its office for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Twelve people were killed in the shooting.

    The Charlie Hebdo attack was followed by a similar incident in Copenhagen, Denmark, where a gunman opened fire at a free speech seminar attended by Muhammad cartoonist Lars Vilks.

    The attacks prompted mass rallies across the world in support of freedom of speech. At the same time, thousands-strong demonstrations by Muslims, offended by Charlie Hebdo's cartoons, have taken place in some countries.


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    caricatures, islamophobia, US
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