New York Republican Rep. Peter King said Pamela Geller's Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in Texas was "provocative for no reason" and putting "people's lives at risk for no good reason."
The Long Islander is a national security hardliner who has been criticized for hearings he held as on American Muslims as House Homeland Security chairman and is a constant vocal supporter of the NYPD's past spying on Muslims.
"Yeah, it's provocative for no reason," King told AM970 on Wednesday, adding Geller was critical of his hearings on American Muslims because she thought "somehow that I was helping the Muslims" or "she said I didn't conduct tough enough hearings or whatever."
King said Geller had the right to put on the event at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, where people where invited to draw the Prophet Muhammad where two gunmen opened fire outside the event and were killed, but that doesn't mean she should have done it.
"I think that — listen, she has the right to do what she did. Just because you have the right to do it doesn't mean you should do it," said King noting some of America's strongest allies were Muslim.
"It's needlessly provocative," added King, saying he thought the event was "insulting someone's religion."
"For instance, let's assume that all religions have, that there are good people of all religions and they have strong beliefs. I was offended as a Catholic when they had the crucifix in the jar of urine, when you had dung on the portrait of the blessed Virgin Mary. Obviously we don't resort to violence, but to me that's insulting someone's religion."
The New Yorker added he thought the event was "just inviting trouble" and was "putting people's lives at risk for no good reason."
"We want to insult and attack and ridicule Islamist terrorism, and that's fine. That makes sense, but to go after a religion in this way, you're just inviting trouble and there's no reason. Its one thing to be courageous if you're doing it for a valid cause, but for the cause of doing a cartoon of Mohammad to me that's, you're putting people's lives at risk for no good reason."
King added he thought the event was running "the risk of people being killed" with no purpose. He added Geller could have "had cops killed."
"Yeah, and nobody's saying anyone should back down, but if you're going to get into a fight, if you're into something serious like, have...almost something where there's an endgame, where it serves your purpose. Here, to be drawing cartoons and then run the risk of people being killed, you know, what? What have we gained by that? At the end of the day, what has Pamela Gellar gained by doing all this other than the fact that you could have had cops killed, and if that officer who put two bullets in their head - talk about being an expert shot - if he didn't do that, we could have...you and I could be talking about 150 people being massacred."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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