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No joke this: A timeline of Prophet cartoons controversy

The Texas police shooting of two suspected Islamist extremists who opened fire outside an exhibition of Prophet Mohammed cartoons is the latest in a series of deadly incidents linked to such caricatures.

world Updated: May 04, 2015 22:13 IST
Freedom of expression

AQAP-magazine-Inspire-publishes-a-Wanted-list-of-people-it-accuses-of-crimes-against-Islam-AFP-Photo

The Texas police shooting of two suspected Islamist extremists who opened fire outside an exhibition of Prophet Mohammed cartoons is the latest in a series of deadly incidents linked to such caricatures.

While there was no claim of responsibility for Sunday's failed assault, caricatures of Mohammed have previously inspired attacks by gunmen with extremist Islamist views.

Terror monitoring group SITE reported that a known member of the Islamic State jihadist group had boasted the attack was carried out by supporters of the hardline movement.

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Members of the Garland Police Department inside the Curtis Culwell Center where the contest for cartoons depictions of the Prophet Muhammad was organised.(AP Photo)

An ABC news affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona, citing an FBI official, said agents raided an apartment thought to belong to one of the gunmen, identified as Elton Simpson.

While there was no claim of responsibility for Sunday's failed assault, caricatures of Mohammed have previously inspired attacks by gunmen with extremist Islamist views.

Terror monitoring group SITE reported that a known member of the Islamic State jihadist group had boasted the attack was carried out by supporters of the hardline movement.

An ABC news affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona, citing an FBI official, said agents raided an apartment thought to belong to one of the gunmen, identified as Elton Simpson.

Here is a recap of events since the controversy began in September 2005, when Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of Mohammed that sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.

2015

May 3: US police kill two men who opened fire at a cultural centre near Dallas, Texas, where the American Freedom Defense Initiative was hosting an exhibition of Mohammed cartoons.

Present at the event is Geert Wilders, a far-right Dutch politician who is number four on a list released in 2013 by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) under the heading "Wanted: Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam".

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Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician, is high on the list of people al Qaeda is targetting. (AFP Photo)

According to SITE, a website that tracks Islamist activity, a man claiming to belong to the Islamic State jihadist group tweeted that the Texas attack was carried out by two militants from the movement.

February 14/15: A young Dane of Palestinian origin opens fire at a cultural centre in Copenhagen were a debate is taking place in the presence of Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. In 2007, Vilks depicted Mohammed with a dog's body, and he is number five on the AQAP list.

The attacker kills one man before fleeing and another man in front of a synagogue. The gunman is shot dead by police.

January 7/8/9: Two gunmen open fire at the Paris office of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people, including five cartoonists. One of them is Stephane Charbonnier, number six among the AQAP's most wanted.

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Armed gunmen face police officers near the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7, 2015, during an attack on the offices of the newspaper. AFP Photo

In the following two days another Islamist kills a policewoman and then four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris. All three gunmen claim ties to AQAP or the Islamic State group, and all are killed by police.

Charlie Hebdo had reprinted the 12 Danish Mohammed cartoons in February 2006 and others in 2012. The magazine's former office was firebombed in November 2011.

On January 14, 2015 a special edition of Charlie Hebdo with yet another Mohammed cartoon sparks violent demonstrations in many Muslim countries, including Niger, where 10 people die.

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A drawing depicting cartoonist Jean Cabut, left, Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, center, and cartoonist Georges Wolinski, all three of whom were killed during the attack on the magazine.



2013

March 1: AQAP magazine Inspire publishes a Wanted list of 11 people it accuses of crimes against Islam, noting: "A Bullet A Day Keeps the Infidel Away".

Topping the list is former Jyllands-Posten editor-in-chief Carsten Luste.

2010

January 1: A 30-year-old Somalian in Denmark slips into the home of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard with a hatchet and a knife, crying that he wants to avenge the prophet and Muslims in general.

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Westergaard drew the most controversial of the Mohammed cartoons, which depicts the prophet wearing a turban that is in fact a bomb with a lit fuse. (AFP File Photo)



2008

June 2: A suicide attack against the Danish embassy in Pakistan kills six people. A Pakistani official blames pro-Taliban militants for the act, which he says is directly related to 12 caricatures of Mohammed.

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Pakistan's security forces cordone off an area outside the Danish embassy which was attacked in 2008. (AFP file Photo)