The provocative anti-Islam activists behind the Mohammed cartoon event in Garland, Texas

US anti-Islam activists Pamela Geller (L) and Robert Spencer chat ahead of an anti-Islam demonstration in Stockholm, on August 4, 2012 (AFP Photo/Fredrik Persson)
The group behind the Prophet Mohammed cartoon event in Texas where police killed two gunmen Sunday has a history of making provocative statements about Islam that it says are aimed at defending “freedom” and critics see as antagonizing Muslims.

Agence France-Presse/Raw Story

The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), led by provocative activist Pamela Geller, offered a $10,000 prize in a competition to draw a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

Depicting the Prophet Mohammed is seen as offensive by many Muslims. Such satirical images have prompted violence in the past including in Paris this year when 12 people were gunned down by Islamists at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Two gunmen who have yet to be identified were killed by police outside the event after opening fire on a security guard.

AFDI supporters say the event was meant to protect the freedom of speech in the United States, which they say is eroding due to violent threats by radicals against people who draw the Prophet Mohammed.

“This is not an anti-Muslim or hate fest or anything like that, it’s absurd to even think that way,” said group supporter and activist Tom Trento in a video filmed at the competition in Garland, Texas near Dallas.

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