Fox News host Megyn Kelly blasted her colleague Bill O'Reilly Tuesday night for insisting that Pamela Geller was wrong to hold a free speech event critical of Islam, specifically radical factions within the faith, where people were encouraged to submit depictions of Muhammad, which some Muslims consider to be insulting and blasphemous.
The two FNC hosts discussed the terror attack at the "Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest" in Garland, Texas, Sunday that left two suspects dead and one security guard injured. O'Reilly took the stance that the event's organizers, Geller and the American Freedom Defense Initiative, provoked the attack.
Kelly, however, retaliated and stated that Geller had the right to organize and hold the event under the protection of the First Amendment.
"But there's always cause and effect," O'Reilly countered. "This is what happens when you light the fuse — you get violence."
Kelly then asserted that O'Reilly sounded like he was "attacking the event itself."
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday, but authorities have yet to confirm whether the shooters, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, were working with or being funded by ISIS.
"We say to the defenders of the cross, the U.S., that future attacks are going to be harsher and worse. The Islamic State soldiers will inflict harm on you with the grace of God. The future is just around the corner," an ISIS radio announcer said two days after the attack.
Simpson was once the subject of a terror investigation, according to ABC News. He was charged and found guilty of lying to federal agents about his trip to Somalia two years ago.
Just before Sunday's planned attack, Simpson tweeted: "My bro and myself have given baby'ah [pledge of allegiance] to Amirul Mu'mineen. May Allah accept us as mujahideen. Make dua [submission of faith]."
Former FBI agent Tim Clemente told CNN that "They may not have had formal contact (with ISIS)," but they "may have had email communication or read communication from ISIS."
Clemente continued: "I don't think they were directed by ISIS. I think it's the other way around — they were kind of applying for membership into ISIS. And so they were doing this act, sent out the tweet in advance because if they know there's a possibility they're not going to make it out of this, then they can't give recognition to what they were trying to do after the fact."
During Sunday's attack, Simpson and Soofi opened fire just outside the Curtis Culwell Center and hit security guard Bruce Joiner in the ankle. A Garland police officer was able to return fire, killing the pair before they could get inside the building.
Daniel Akbari, who practiced law in Iran and has handled hundreds of cases involving Islamic criminal and family law, wrote an op-ed explaining the possible rationale for the shooting: not drawing pictures of the prophet Muhammad but insulting him.
"Although pictures were involved in Garland, the real issue was not depicting Muhammad; it was insulting Muhammad," Akbari wrote for World Net Daily. "No sect of Islam will kill others merely for depicting Muhammad. The problem is pictures that disparage Muhammad or other respected Islamic figures, even if the pictures depict factual events in their lives. Drawing caricatures of Muhammad is per se insulting under Shariah."
Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, noted after the Charlie Hebdo attacks that the West has been desensitized to Islamic violence.
"You see, here in the West, for any Islamic outburst or attack to be deemed 'newsworthy,' it must involve dramatic, wholesale slaughter, as in the Charlie Hebdo affair. Such is the West's desensitization toward Islamic violence. One wonders how long before Charlie Hebdo-style attacks also lose their newsworthiness, becoming commonplace and expected, as the tentacles of the jihad continue to grow," Ibrahim wrote for The Christian Post.
Meanwhile, the State Department continues to search for any links between Soofi, Simpson, and ISIS, to hopefully prevent any further attacks.