An aerial view shows the car that was used the previous night by two gunmen, who were killed by police, as it is investigated by local police and the FBI in Garland, Texas May 4, 2015. REUTERS/REX CURRY
Robert Shillman heads a publicly traded American technology company called Cognex Corp with a market value of $4 billion. He also says he is a big supporter of last Sunday’s Prophet Mohammad cartoon contest in Texas that was attacked by two gunmen who opened fire before being shot dead by police.
In a telephone interview with Reuters from his home near San Diego, California, Shillman said America’s free speech is under threat. He added that violent attacks on such events are making people fearful and prone to self censorship. Many Muslims regard depictions of the prophet – such as the caricatures displayed at the event – as offensive and against the religion’s teachings.
“It was a terrorist attack on the American way of life,” says Shillman, who says he isn’t anti-Muslim.
Shillman said he remains a director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, whose Jihad Watch website helped organize the cartoon event in a Dallas suburb with activist Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks what it describes as extremist groups, has called the Freedom Center’s founder, the right-wing commentator David Horowitz, “the godfather of the anti-Muslim Movement.” The Freedom Center says it “combats the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values.”
The SPLC also calls Geller’s AFDI a hate group because of the way it talks about and depicts Muslims.
Horowitz, in an email, called Shillman “an American hero” who is entirely transparent in his agenda. Horowitz also said the SPLC couldn’t produce one statement of his own that was anti-Muslim…
I’d say that’s a big compliment to Horowitz (who runs FrontPage), coming from the sleazy SPLC.