Rep. Steve King on Garland attack: 'We knew this was coming'

steve king new day free speech texas attack_00000625
steve king new day free speech texas attack_00000625


    Rep. Steve King on controversial Islam critic


Rep. Steve King on controversial Islam critic 01:47

(CNN)Rep. Steve King on Tuesday stressed the importance of defending free speech in the U.S. in the face of radical Islam, hours after ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack outside a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest in Texas.

But the attack, carried out by two gunmen Sunday night, didn't come as a total surprise to King, a conservative Republican from Iowa who said Tuesday on CNN's "New Day" that "we knew this was coming in some fashion or another" -- pointing to attacks in Europe as harbingers of the threat the U.S. also faces from Islamist terrorists.
And King beat back criticism of the event targeted Monday -- one deemed offensive by many Muslims.
"I think we have to push back on this. I don't think that what they did down there was offensive. I think it was a robust demonstration of freedom of speech and we have to do that," King said. "If the speech is not offensive it doesn't need to be protected by our first amendment constitution."
    King called the attack an attempt to bring "Sharia law into America by intimidation" and said without a robust backing of freedom of speech, Islamists will "keep redefining what's offensive until then all of their rules are applied on all of us."
    The conservative congressman suggested that's already a process at work in parts of the U.S., bringing back on Tuesday the since-debunked concept of "no-go zones," areas where police are kept at bay and instead Sharia law is enforced.
    "We've probably got some no-go zones in America that we don't talk about. I haven't been to them and I need to do that, but if you go to Europe and see what's happening in Europe it's a predictor of what's happening in America," King said.
    That view is what prompted King to invite Geert Wilders, a controversial far-right Dutch politician who has sought to outlaw the Quran and who has called Islam "the ideology of a retarded culture," to Capitol Hill last week.
    Wilders was also the keynote speaker at the Sunday event that was targeted.
    King defended Wilders, saying the Dutch parliamentarian has been "unjustly attacked" and insisted that Wilders "has no problem with the Muslim religion."
    He said he invited him because Wilders is "helping the world understand what's coming at us."
    "I think we need to understand what's coming at us," King said. "He's helping the world understand what's coming at us."
    King added that Wilders "forces us to take a deeper look at the people who are coming to kill us."