To the editor: Muslims who attack people who create images critical of Islam and the prophet Muhammad are overestimating the influence of these images. ("Texas attack refocuses attention on fine line between free speech and hate speech," May 4)
With a cursory Web search, I can find artwork critical of Islam and Muhammad dating back at least to the Renaissance, and yet Islam is a very strong religion today with about 1.5 billion followers. There were only 200 people who attended the event in Texas, and Charlie Hebdo has a circulation of only 60,000.
Islam has demonstrated that it can withstand criticism. Thus, I think would-be attackers should look at the big picture and realize that in general their religion is doing fine.
Greg Dahlen, Glendale
To the editor: This anti-Islam gathering sponsored by Pamela Geller's American Freedom Defense Initiative was not America's Charlie Hebdo moment. Charlie Hebdo satirizes everyone. This group targets Islam, one specific group. The gathering, therefore, was racist in intent.
It is unfortunate that Muslim extremists were activated. There is no condoning such acts of violence, period. If the gathering had targeted Jews or Baptists, for example, it would not be considered conscionable for many people.
By the way, I am Jewish. And I find the anti-Islam gathering and the resulting violence equally revolting.
Michael Rudin, Los Angeles
To the editor: The Times missed the point in its headline regarding the Garland, Texas, shooting.
"Two extremes" colliding implies that the conservatives hosting the cartoon contest were extremists. It's rather ironic that a newspaper would consider a free-speech demonstration to be extremist.
And kudos to the alert officer who quickly ended what could have been a Charlie Hebdo-sized massacre.
Rick Kern, Incline Village, Nev.