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Two gunmen who opened fire on a security officer outside of a contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) have been shot dead, authorities in the Dallas suburb of Garland said Sunday night, May 3rd.

They drove to the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland as the event was ending, and began shooting at the security officer before being killed by police.

The bomb squad has been called in to search their vehicle for explosives.

The event, organised by a group critical of Islam, included a contest for drawings of the Prophet.

Dutch anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders had been one of the keynote speakers at the event. He tweeted that shots had been fired and he had safely left the building.

Security had been high around the centre because of the controversial nature of the event.

Garland Police Department spokesman Joe Harn said there had been no credible threats in advance, and it was not immediately clear if the shootings were related to the event.

Photo AP

Photo AP

About 200 people had been attending the Muhammad Art Exhibit when, shortly before it was due to finish at 19:00, they were told of a shooting outside.

They and people from nearby buildings were later evacuated.

Garland Mayor Douglas Athas told CNN that the “first suspect was shot immediately” .

“The second suspect was wounded and reached for his backpack. He was shot again.”

Security officer Bruce Joiner was taken to hospital after being shot in the ankle, but was later released.

Local police said they have not been yet able to identify the gunmen, whose bodies remain by the car while the bomb squad inspects it for explosives.

Joe Harn, a spokesman for the Garland Police Department, warned that the inspection is “a very slow, tedious operation that goes on”.

Sunday’s event was organised by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which is run by controversial blogger and activist Pamela Geller and is listed as an anti-Muslim group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group.

The conference included a contest that offered a $10,000 prize for a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.

Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are offensive to many Muslims.

There were widespread protests in 2006 when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

One person was shot dead and three police officers were wounded at a freedom of speech debate in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen where the French ambassador was speaking.

Two gunmen are said to be still at large.

Reports say up to 40 shots were fired outside the venue in the Danish capital.

Controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who has drawn caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, was also present at the blasphemy debate.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Shortly after the attack, a message appeared on the Twitter feed of French ambassador Francois Zimeray saying he was unharmed.

The area around the venue, reportedly a cafe, is under lockdown.

Lars Vilks stoked controversy in 2007 by drawing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad dressed as a dog.

An organizer of the event, Helle Merete Brix, said she clearly considered the incident as an attack on Lars Vilks, reported the Associated Press.

In 2010 two brothers tried to burn down Lars Vilks’ house in southern Sweden and were imprisoned for attempted arson.

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This week’s three million copies of Charlie Hebdo will feature a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign, the magazine lawyer said.

Above the cartoon are the words “All is forgiven”. This comes after Islamist gunmen raided the magazine’s Paris office on January 7, killing 12 people.

A total of 17 people were killed in three days of terror attacks in the French capital last week.

The special issue, to come out on Wednesday, January 14, will also be offered “in 16 languages” for readers around the world, one of its columnists, Patrick Pelloux, said.

The 44-year-old newspaper has always sought to break taboos with its provocative cartoons on all religions, current events and prominent personalities.

Charlie Hebdo’s distributors, MLP, had initially planned to print one million copies of the issue currently being put together by survivors of the shooting.Charlie Hebdo post attack issue

But MLP said demand from France and abroad has been huge and that 3 million copies would now be released.

The original paper printed at 60,000 copies a week, selling 30,000.

The latest cover of Charlie Hebdo has been published in advance by French media. Outside France, the Washington Post, Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine, Corriere della Sera in Italy and the UK’s Guardian are among publications to show the cartoon.

The slogan in French “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) was widely used following the January 7 attack on the magazine, as people sought to show their support.

Charlie Hebdo‘s lawyer Richard Malka told France Info radio: “We will not give in. The spirit of <<I am Charlie>> means the right to blaspheme.”

Survivors of the massacre have been working on the magazine from the offices of the French daily newspaper Liberation with equipment loaned by the Le Monde daily and cash handed out by other French and even foreign media.

Five of Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoonists – including the editor – were killed in the attack.

The new edition will be created “only by people from Charlie Hebdo”, its financial director, Eric Portheault, told AFP news agency.

Contributions from other cartoonists were declined.

Wednesday’s edition aims to raise fresh cash to ensure the survival of the weekly, with all revenue from the sales, at 3 euros ($3.75) a copy, going to Charlie Hebdo once the cost of the paper has been deducted.

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A Pakistani Christian couple has been sentenced to death for blasphemy after allegedly sending a text message insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar were found guilty of sending the text message to the imam of their local mosque.

Allegations of blasphemy against Islam are taken very seriously in Pakistan.

Several recent cases have prompted international concern about the application of blasphemy laws.

Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar were found guilty of sending a blaspheming text message to the imam of their local mosque

Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar were found guilty of sending a blaspheming text message to the imam of their local mosque

The imam brought a complaint against the couple last July.

The couple’s lawyer said he would appeal against the sentences and said the trial had not been conducted fairly.

Pakistan has a de facto moratorium on the death penalty so it is unlikely the couple will be executed.

They come from the town of Gojra in Punjab, previously the scene of communal violence.

In 2009, the rumored desecration of a copy of the Koran led to a mob burning nearly 40 houses and a church in Gojra. At least eight members of Christian community died in the violence.

Since the 1990s, scores of Christians have been convicted for desecrating the Koran or blaspheming against the Prophet Mohammed.

While most of them have been sentenced to death by the lower courts, many sentences have been overturned due to lack of evidence.

Critics argue that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are frequently misused to settle personal scores and that members of minority groups are also unfairly targeted.

Muslims constitute a majority of those prosecuted, followed by the minority Ahmadi community.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the US man behind anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims that led to mass protests in the Middle East has been sentenced to a year in jail for probation violations.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was sentenced by a judge in California after admitting four violations which stem from a 2010 conviction for fraud.

None of the charges was connected with the content of the controversial film, Innocence of Muslims.

Dozens of people died in the Middle East in protests over the film.

US District Judge Christina Snyder said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, must spend 12 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release.

Prosecutors had been seeking a two-year sentence.

After the 2010 conviction, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula had served most of a 21-month jail sentence for using more than a dozen aliases and opening about 60 bank accounts to conduct a cheque fraud scheme, prosecutors said.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Innocence of Muslims filmmaker, in jail for probation violations

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Innocence of Muslims filmmaker, in jail for probation violations

The Los Angeles Times said that it was while he was in prison that he read the Koran, looking for ways to criticize Islam.

On his release he was barred from using computers or the internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who was arrested in September, also goes by the name of Sam Bacile, Nicola Bacily and Mark Basseley Yousseff and is believed to be an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian.

US authorities have said they believe Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was the person behind the controversial film, but have not said whether he was the person who posted it on the internet.

Muslims around the world took to the streets in protest, outraged by the film’s portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.

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Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man linked to anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims that sparked riots across the Muslim world, has been held without bond after a hearing in Los Angeles, California.

A judge said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was a flight risk and cited a pattern of deception when making his ruling, Reuters news agency reported.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was investigated for violating probation terms after he was released from prison in 2011 for bank fraud.

He has not been detained over the contents of the inflammatory video.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Christian originally from Egypt, allegedly produced the 14-minute trailer for the film Innocence of Muslims. He had been in hiding after the release of the video.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been held without bond after a hearing in LA

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been held without bond after a hearing in LA

After his 2010 conviction, he was sentenced to 21 months in prison and, under the terms of his probation, he was banned from using computers or accessing the internet for five years without an officer’s permission.

US Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said: “the court has a lack of trust in this defendant at this time”.

Assistant Attorney Robert Dugdale said the court believed Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was flight risk.

“He has every incentive to disappear,” he said.

A clip from the US-made film was dubbed into Arabic, provoking widespread anger for its disrespectful portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.

The film was made on a very low budget, with insults and offensive inferences to the Prophet Mohammad and Islam crudely dubbed on afterwards.

Earlier, the Obama administration had requested Google, the company that owns YouTube, to remove the clip. The technology firm refused, saying the film did not violate its rules.

The clip was uploaded to YouTube in July, but violence only broke out on 11 September, after Arabic TV stations broadcast it.

The clip has not broken any laws in the US, where freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution’s first amendment.

Four Americans, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya earlier this month.

Meanwhile, some of the actors in the video have come forward to say they were misled. They said had been hired to appear in a film called Desert Warriors, which did not mention Islam or the Prophet Muhammad in the script.

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Pakistani TV channels are airing an advert showing news clips of President Barack Obama condemning anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims made in the US.

The advert also features a statement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a press conference rejecting the amateur film’s message.

Unrest over the film, Innocence of Muslims, has claimed several lives.

Also on Thursday, a protest against the film outside the US embassy which had turned violent ended peacefully.

The adverts seek to emphasize the message reiterated by US officials throughout the crisis: that the “disgusting” film was not made by the US government, but that there is never any justification for violence.

The embassy described the advert as a “public service announcement” and repeated the statements from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on its Twitter feed.

Protest against anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims in Pakistan

Protest against anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims in Pakistan

A caption on the advert, which ends with the seal of the US embassy in Islamabad, reads “Paid Content,” the Associated Press reports.

State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed the US spent $70,000 to air the 30-second clip on seven Pakistani TV stations.

She said the US embassy in Pakistan wanted to run the ads because they determined those messages were not reaching enough of the Pakistani public through regular news reporting.

“As you know, after the video came out, there was concern in lots of bodies politic, including Pakistan, as to whether this represented the views of the US government,” Victoria Nuland said.

She said the television spots were the “best way” to reach as many as 90 million Pakistanis.

The low-budget film that sparked the controversy was made in the US and is said to insult the Prophet Muhammad.

Its exact origins are unclear and the alleged producer for the trailer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is in hiding.

The Pakistani authorities had earlier called on the army as police struggled to contain the crowd of thousands outside the US embassy in Islamabad with tear gas and live rounds.

Some protesters had said they would not leave the diplomatic enclave until the US embassy was on fire.

Streets leading to the enclave, where most of the embassies are housed, were earlier blocked off with shipping containers in an effort to increase security.

Television pictures showed chaotic scenes as police tried to gain control of the situation.

Protesters burned an effigy of President Obama and threw missiles at the police.

The US state department earlier issued a warning against any non-essential travel to Pakistan.

It also “strongly urged” US citizens in Pakistan to avoid protests and large gatherings.

Anti-US sentiment has been growing since people became aware of the amateur film earlier this month.

The US Ambassador to Libya was killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on 11 September.

The US secretary of state announced on Thursday that she would appoint an independent panel, chaired by a retired diplomat, to investigate the incident.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said earlier in the day, in a statement read to reporters on Air Force One, that it had been “a terrorist attack”.

Protests in countries around the world have since taken place, with tensions further inflamed by the publication by a French magazine of obscene cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad on Wednesday.

The Pakistani government has called a national holiday on Friday to enable people to demonstrate peacefully.

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Cindy Lee Garcia, a US actress who appeared in amateur anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims that sparked protests across the Muslim world, is suing the film’s suspected director.

Cindy Lee Garcia accused Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of duping her into a “hateful” film that she was led to believe was a desert adventure movie.

She is also asking a judge to order YouTube to remove the film.

A clip dubbed into Arabic provoked widespread anger for its mocking portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.

Innocence of Muslims, which was made in the United States, has sparked protests across the Middle East, North Africa and as far away as Sri Lanka, with some demonstrations turning into destructive and violent riots.

Cindy Lee Garcia accused Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of duping her into Innocence of Muslims that she was led to believe was a desert adventure movie

Cindy Lee Garcia accused Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of duping her into Innocence of Muslims that she was led to believe was a desert adventure movie

Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stephens, were killed during an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

According to Cindy Lee Garcia, the script she received had made no mention of the Prophet Muhammad or made references to religion.

She claims she has received death threats since the video was posted to YouTube, and says her association with the film has harmed her reputation.

In a court filing lodged with Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, Cindy Lee Garcia alleged fraud, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Lawyers for Cindy Lee Garcia contend that changes in dialogue during post-production casts her in a false light.

“[Garcia] had a legally protected interest in her privacy and the right to be free from having hateful words put in her mouth or being depicted as a bigot,” the lawsuit says.

“There was no mention of <<Mohammed>> during filming or on set. There were no references made to religion nor was there any sexual content of which Ms Garcia was aware,” it adds.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula denies being “Sam Bacile”, a pseudonym used by the person who posted the video online.

He has gone into hiding after telling US media he was the manager of a company that helped produce the film, but US officials believe him to be the director.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was convicted of fraud in 2010 and ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was released in June 2011 with the provision that he did not access the internet or use any aliases without permission.

Authorities questioned him last week over whether he had violated any of those conditions.

YouTube has so far refused Cindy Lee Garcia’s requests to remove the film, according to the lawsuit, although it has blocked it in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt.

“This lawsuit is not an attack on the First Amendment nor on the right of Americans to say what they think, but does request that the offending content be removed from the Internet,” the complaint states.

Google, which owns YouTube, has blocked the film in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt.

A spokesman for YouTube said they were reviewing the complaint and would be in court on Thursday.

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Yemeni protesters angered by an anti-Islam film made in the US have stormed the grounds of the US embassy in the country’s capital Sanaa.

Police shot in the air in an attempt to hold back the crowds, but failed to prevent them gaining access to the compound and setting fire to vehicles.

A number of people were reported to have been injured.

On Tuesday, the US ambassador to Libya was killed in a fire started after the US consulate in Benghazi was stormed.

Security force reinforcements in Sanaa used tear gas, water cannon and live fire to drive back protesters.

They have now regained control of the Sanaa compound, but protests are continuing outside.

US embassy in Yemen’s capital Sanaa has been stormed by protesters angered by anti-Islam film

US embassy in Yemen’s capital Sanaa has been stormed by protesters angered by anti-Islam film

Earlier on Thursday, US officials said they were investigating whether the attack in Libya was planned, citing suspicions that a militant jihadist group may have co-ordinated the violence.

Three other US consul staff and several Libyans died in that attack, along with Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who is believed to have died from smoke inhalation.

There have also been clashes in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

On Wednesday, demonstrators in Cairo angry at the film – Innocence of Muslims – breached the walls of the US embassy and tore down the flag. Clashes continued in the early hours of Thursday morning.

President Mohammed Mursi has appealed for calm, saying Egyptians “reject any kind of assault or insult” against the Prophet Muhammad.

“I condemn and oppose all who… insult our prophet. [But] it is our duty to protect our guests and visitors from abroad,” he said in a statement broadcast by state media.

“I call on everyone to take that into consideration, to not violate Egyptian law… to not assault embassies.”

Security has been increased at US embassies and consulates around the world in response to the rising tensions.

US President Barack Obama has vowed to work with the Libyan authorities to bring those behind the Benghazi attack to justice.

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President Barack Obama has confirmed that US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, is among four Americans killed in an attack on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

Unidentified armed men stormed the grounds on Tuesday night in a protest over a US-produced film that is said to insult the Prophet Muhammad.

They shot at buildings and threw handmade bombs into the compound.

Protesters also attacked the US embassy in Cairo over the film.

In a statement, Barack Obama condemned the “outrageous attack” on the facility in Benghazi.

US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, is among four Americans killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi

US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, is among four Americans killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi

“Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi,” he said.

President Barack Obama also ordered a tightening of security at US diplomatic posts around the globe.

A second US man killed in the attack was named as Sean Smith, a father of two who was employed as an information management officer.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described Sean Smith as “one of the best”.

The names of the remaining two victims have not yet been released.

It is not yet clear how the four died.

Hillary Clinton said of Christopher Stevens: “Chris was committed to advancing America’s values and interests, even when that meant putting himself in danger.”

The killings were also condemned by the Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur.

“I condemn these barbaric acts in the strongest possible terms. This is an attack on America, Libya and free people everywhere,” he said on the social networking site Twitter.

Reports say a militia known as the Ansar al-Sharia brigade was involved in the attack, but the group has denied the claim.

Many people are still armed following the conflict that overthrew Col. Muammar Gaddafi last year.

Analysts say the attack will raise serious new concerns about stability in the country and the ability of the new Libyan administration to maintain security.

Other countries will be wondering whether their consular staff is safe in Libya, they say.

The film that sparked the demonstration is said to have been produced by a 52-year-old US citizen from California named Sam Bacile, and promoted by an expatriate Egyptian Copt.

The two men are described as having anti-Islamic views.

A trailer of the low-budget movie, which correspondents say is highly provocative and insulting to Muslims, has appeared on YouTube translated into Arabic.

There are real fears that protests over the video could spread.

A demonstration in Cairo on Tuesday saw protesters breach the US embassy and tear down the US flag, which was flying at half mast to mark the 9/11 attacks.

They condemned what they said was the humiliation of the Prophet of Islam under the pretext of freedom of speech.

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A US state department official was killed and at least one other American was wounded when a gunmen stormed the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

It is believed the protest was held over a US-produced film that is said to be insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

The militiamen raided the compound with grenades before setting it on fire.

On Tuesday, protesters against the film breached the walls of the US embassy in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The film that sparked the demonstration is said to have been produced by a US citizen from California named Sam Bacile, and promoted by an expatriate Egyptian Copt.

The two men are described as having anti-Islamic views.

A trailer of the low-budget movie has appeared on YouTube translated into Arabic.

The video, called Innocence of Muslims, is shot in English, but provides Arabic subtitles.

It was written, directed and produced by Israeli-American real-estate developer Sam Bacile in California, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sam Bacile, 52, told the paper that he regards Islam as a “cancer” and was able to produce the film with $5 million that he raised with the help of about 100 Jewish donors.

The film depicts Muhammad as a fraud, showing him having sex and calling for massacres.

Throughout the video, “Muhammad” – portrayed by an American actor – is branded a “bastard”, “rapist” and “child molester” by other actors in the film.

A US state department official was killed when a gunmen stormed the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi

A US state department official was killed when a gunmen stormed the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi

Muslims find it offensive to depict Muhammad in any fashion, much less in an insulting way.

Ultra-conservatives have claimed the actions are a protest against the film, which they say attacks Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, and is a form of blasphemy.

In the attack in Benghazi, unidentified armed men stormed the grounds, shooting at buildings and throwing handmade bombs into the compound.

Security forces returned fire but Libyan officials say they were overwhelmed.

“One American official was killed and another injured in the hand. The other staff members were evacuated and are safe and sound,” Libya’s deputy interior minister Wanis al-Sharif told AFP news agency.

The identity of the US official killed is not yet known. The consular worker was reported to have been shot.

In a statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed the death, saying: “We are heartbroken by this terrible loss.”

“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” she said in a statement.

“The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”

Reports say a militia known as the Ansar al-Sharia brigade was involved in the attack, but the group has denied the claim.

Many people are still armed following the conflict that overthrew Col. Muammar Gaddafi last year.

There were calls on social media networks for protests against US interests in the capital, Tripoli, but no disturbances have been confirmed.

The rally followed a demonstration in Cairo, in which protesters breached the US embassy and tore down the United States flag, which was flying at half mast to mark the 9/11 attacks, and replaced it with an Islamist banner.

Thousands of protesters had gathered outside the US embassy in the Egyptian capital.

Egyptian protesters condemned what they said was the humiliation of the Prophet of Islam under the pretext of freedom of speech.

“Both Muslims and Christians are participating in this protest against this offence to Islam,” said one protester, according to Associated Press news agency.

US Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama for his response to the protests.

“It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” Mitt Romney said in a statement.

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