Let's hope nothing does go wrong, but so far more than
500 800 people have RSVP'd to attend a Muhammad cartoon drawing contest in Phoenix on Friday, similar to the contest in Garland, Texas. That event, organized by incendiary fruitcake Pamela Geller, ended in the deaths of two Muslims who intended their own violent protest.
Those men, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, lived together in Arizona and until recently attended the Islamic Community Center in north Phoenix, which this week received threatening letters that are being investigated by the FBI. Friday's cartoon contest organizers, who are armed bikers associated with RidersUSA, have also chosen the Islamic Community Center for the site of their provocative protest, which has not gone unnoticed.
Phoenix police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation say they are aware of a man's plans for a Muhammad cartoon drawing contest scheduled for Friday in front of a Phoenix mosque.The Islamic Community Center condemned the actions of Simpson and Soofi in Garland, as well as ISIS and terrorism in general, but that doesn't matter to contest organizer Jon Ritzheimer, who earlier this year held an anti-Islam rally outside the mosque during prayer time.
"These are the measures that we have to take to expose the true colors of this religion," he said. "Unfortunately, we have to hold the cartoon contest, as silly as it sounds, to be able to show the true colors of Islam."To demonstrate his tolerance, Ritzheimer proudly wears a T-shirt that shouts "F*ck Islam" as he stands outside the mosque (only his has no asterisk). He'll be selling the shirt Friday at the event. Ritzheimer says he plans for the cartoon contest and protest to remain peaceful, but just in case, on his Facebook page he urges everyone to bring a gun — after all, it's Arizona.
Ritzheimer labeled Islam an "intolerant religion."
People are also encouraged to utilize there second amendment right at this event just incase our first amendment comes under the much anticipated attack.Ritzheimer said he "would not shoulder any responsibility" if the event turns violent. Of course not. Why should he? He's only insulting a large Muslim community, profanely accosting worshippers, encouraging hundreds of people to pack heat, and he already thinks an attack on him is "much anticipated."
Evidently the organizers, who want to silence Muslim voices, see no irony in calling this a "Freedom of Speech Rally." A truer understanding of the First Amendment was provided by the Islamic Center's Usama Shami, who said Ritzheimer has every right to protest:
"Everybody has a right to be a bigot. Everybody has a right to be a racist. Everybody has a right to be an idiot."
Shami encouraged worshippers not to be intimidated and attend mosque Friday as usual. Authorities are being proactive, which Arizona's Council on American-Islamic Relations appreciates.
"We thank law enforcement authorities for their proactive effort to ensure the safety of the mosque's congregation from hate-filled and armed protesters," said CAIR-AZ Chairman Imraan Siddiqi. "The promise of a heavy police presence at the rally of armed biker gang members will help calm fears of harassment and even attacks on worshipers."These yahoos are no different from the intolerant extremists they condemn. Hate is hate and bigotry is bigotry, regardless of which book, deity or ideology one uses to justify it.
UPDATES, h/t to commenters: The organizer's Facebook page says they'll gather first at Denny's then meet after the protest for a party at Wild Bills. Both establishments have uninvited them and those events have been canceled. Anderson Cooper conducted an interview with Jon Ritzheimer, which Raw Story has here. The controversy has been all over the news in Phoenix today, and counter protests are planned.