Paris. Copenhagen. And now Garland, Texas.
The Dallas suburb may be the latest city where depictions of the Prophet Mohammed have been met with gunfire.
It’s still not clear who shot a security guard Sunday night at the “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest” in Texas. And the motive remains unknown.
But the attack isn’t the United States’ first brush with sacrilege over the Prophet Mohammed. Americans have been on the giving and receiving end of death threats.
One cartoonist has been in hiding for four years. And several Americans have been arrested for plotting the death of others who they deem insulted Islam.
Here are some run-ins Americans have had with such depictions, which many Muslims consider blasphemous:
Molly Norris: Cartoonist in hiding
No one really knows what Molly Norris’ name is now. She changed her identity and disappeared, at the suggestion of the FBI, after a slew of death threats for her cartoons featuring Mohammed four years ago.
Even the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki — the American-born spokesman for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — said Norris was a “prime target” for execution.
Her controversy in April 2010 started with a cartoon published online about an imaginary group called “Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor” that proposed an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.”
“I didn’t mean for my satirical poster to be taken seriously,” Norris told Seattle’s City Arts Magazine. “It became kind of an excuse for people to hate or be mean-spirited. I’m not mean-spirited.”
Norris’ cartoon inspired others to create pictures of the Prophet Mohammed on the Internet. More than 100,000 people signed up on a Facebook page. But competing sites that blasted the campaign also drew tens of thousands of followers.
“When she learned about the Facebook page that had the most vulgar cartoons you can imagine, she distanced herself immediately,” said Arsalan Bukhari, executive director for the Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“She realized this is the wrong thing to do, to deliberately insult a minority group.”
Norris made a short film about the experiences of American Muslim women who wear head scarves. She was trying to destroy stereotypes about Muslim women, he said.
It was too late, and the death threats too many.
Colleen LaRose: ‘Jihad Jane’ sentenced to 10 years
Pennsylvania resident and self-styled “Jihad Jane” Colleen LaRose pleaded guilty in 2011 to helping plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. Vilks had drawn a cartoon of Mohammed with the body of a dog.
LaRose traveled to Europe and followed Vilks online “in an effort to complete her task,” federal prosecutors said. She was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison for the plot to kill Vilks.
She’s not alone. Over the past four years, at least three American citizens have been convicted in plots to murder Scandinavian cartoonists and journalists who they believed had insulted Islam, CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen said.
And two other Americans have also been convicted of inciting violent attacks against cartoonists in the States who they felt had insulted the Prophet Mohammed.
As for Vilks, he may have dodged one plot against his life. But he came much closer to danger in February.
That’s when a gunman stormed a Copenhagen cafe where Vilks and his supporters had gathered for a free speech forum. The attack killed one man and wounded three police officers were wounded.
Jamie Paulin Ramirez: Lured by ‘Jihad Jane’
Prosecutors said LaRose had emailed former Colorado resident Jamie Paulin Ramirez in 2009 inviting her to Europe and asking her to attend a “training camp.”
So Ramierez did. She pleaded guilty in 2011 on charges of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
David Headley: Chicagoan conspired to kill Danish cartoonists
David Headley had already played a critical role in the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 that left 166 people dead.
But after furor over what he deemed blasphemous cartoons, Headley turned his attention to Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
Headley hatched a plan to take over the Jyllands-Posten building with multiple attackers using similar tactics to those used in Mumbai.
The plan involved beheading employees working at the newspaper and throwing their heads out the windows of the building.
He was eventually arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport in October 2009. He later pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Zachary Adam Chesser: Threatened ‘South Park’ creators
Zachary Adam Chesser encouraged violent jihadists to attack writers of the animated TV series “South Park” for an episode that depicted the Prophet Mohammed in a bear suit.
He posted online messages that included the writers’ home addresses and urged online readers to “pay them a visit,” the documents said.
Chesser, who was born in the United States, converted to Islam in high school. In court, he said he tried to go to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group that the United States considers a terrorist organization.
He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.