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Ban Ki-moon condemns Texas shooting incident at cartoon exhibit

The Secretary-General in his statement said that such criminal acts have nothing to do with religion or belief

Press Trust of India  |  United Nations 

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the shooting outside a venue hosting a controversial cartoon exhibit concerning Prophet Mohammed, saying such criminal acts have nothing to do with religion or belief.

In response to a question, Ban's spokesperson said the Secretary-General condemned the attack in the Dallas suburb of Garland by two gunmen who opened fire and injured a security guard on Sunday.

The Secretary-General in his statement said that such criminal acts have nothing to do with religion or belief.

"Ideas must only be defended through democratic debate and dialogue. There is no justification for violence," he said.

Ban underlined that freedom of expression and tolerance are essential elements of peaceful societies and must be strongly upheld.

Ban, 70, also recalled the importance of promoting intercultural dialogue and respect as crucial means to prevent and address extremism.

Authorities have identified the two gunmen as Elton Simpson, 30, and Nadir Hamid Soofi, 34.

The two opened fire outside a gathering that showcased artwork and cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

The controversial event was wrapping up shortly before 7 p.m when the two gunmen pulled up in a car and shot an unarmed Garland ISD security officer.

Seconds later, Garland police returned fire and killed the two gunmen before anyone else was hurt.

One of the officers, a traffic policeman, returned fire and killed both the gunmen, said Garland police official Joe Harn.

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First Published: Tue, May 05 2015. 08:22 IST