Hundreds convened outside of a mosque in Phoenix yesterday after a former Marine organized an anti-Muslim "rally."
According to the New York Daily News, the "Freedom of Speech Rally" was created by ex-Marine Jon Ritzheimer following the ISIS-motivated shooting outside of a Texas community center which hosted a contest for illustrating the Prophet Muhammad earlier this month. The Associated Press reports that 250 gathered at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, only to be countered by an equal number of people on hand to lend to lend support:
The rally initially was organized by a Phoenix man who says he is a former Marine who fought in the Iraq War and believes Islam is a violent religion. He led about 250 people who carried pistols, assault rifles, American flags and drawings of the Prophet Muhammad to the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix.
That group was met by an equally sized group of protesters, some holding signs promoting love and peace, who came to show their support for the mosque and Muslim community.
As the two sides argued and yelled, dozens of police officers formed a line between them and kept them separated. There were no reports of injuries or arrests at the protest, which lasted a couple of hours and gained attention around the country on social media. Phoenix police estimated about 500 protesters showed up, roughly 250 on each side.
The Daily News adds that Ritzheimer insists his life is in danger:
I’m having to sell my house. My family is going into hiding, an armed Ritzheimer, flanked by burly men wearing F--- Islam! T-shirts, told reporters at the rally. They’re calling for lone wolves to behead me. That’s terrorism right here in America.
Doesn't the "event" he organized sound a lot like terrorism?
[via Associated Press and New York Daily News]