A former U.S. Marine, fed up with liberals defending Islamic terrorists in the name of religious freedom, organized a free-speech rally Friday at an Arizona mosque that turned into a raucous event.
Jon Ritzheimer organized the rally outside the Phoenix mosque attended by the men who attacked a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in Texas earlier this month, local Phoenix television station ABC 15 reported.
Hundreds of protesters from both sides shouted at and taunted each other, as police separated the two groups.
Phoenix police estimated that about 500 demonstrators showed up, evenly divided between protesters and counter-protesters, according to ABC 15.
Many attendees posted their pictures and video on Twitter, including these:
Police line forming to separate protesters #PHxMosque pic.twitter.com/ScAnHmKQbc
— Will Stone (@WStoneReports) May 30, 2015
Just some big guns in front of a mosque. Nothing to see here. #PHxMosque #NotMyAmerica pic.twitter.com/to5bjwmGMy
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) May 30, 2015
Protest moves down the line. Intense, intense yelling. This one ain’t PG, kids. #PHxMosque pic.twitter.com/tWGqju7z5q
— Carter Nacke (@carternacke) May 30, 2015
So you can see. Two helicopters and lots of folks. #PHxMosque #phx pic.twitter.com/zbjCq75VCe
— Adam Lopez Falk (@AdamLopezFalk) May 30, 2015
Megaphone guy tears up Quran at protest outside #PHXMosque #12News pic.twitter.com/8i4LwCb8yP
— BrahmResnik (@brahmresnik) May 30, 2015
Some liberals couldn’t help but reinforce their own stereotypes of gun-carrying First Amendment supporters, tweeting:
I’d pay $100 to watch these #PHXmosque protestors play a game of Trivial Pursuit pic.twitter.com/UhRCW5nwmB
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) May 30, 2015
I will sing you the song of my people #phxmosque. pic.twitter.com/0XBq03JZxc
— Popehat (@Popehat) May 30, 2015
Other Twitter users questioned why the police didn’t respond with military vehicles, or the kind of National Guard presence typical to other rallies, tweeting:
Why aren’t the police militarized at armed #PHxMosque hate rally, yet armed with rifles/mil vehicles at unarmed peaceful brutality rallies?
— Cassandra (@CassandraRules) May 30, 2015
Can someone please DM me when the National Guard arrives at the armed protest those folks are having at the mosque?
— deray mckesson (@deray) May 30, 2015
The answer from these Twitter users was sobering.
@deray When they start rioting, looting and burning private property, the stuff you incite, that’ll happen my friend.
— I think for myself (@SomethingIdSay) May 30, 2015
@deray @drjewest Probably AFTER they commit arson, looting, vandalizing or harming people & property as they did w/ your protests.
— American Elephant (@AmericnElephant) May 30, 2015
@deray when the protesters start hurling rocks at cops setting business on fire and looting
— Dan Cronin (@crobar_dan) May 30, 2015
@CassandraRules the 2nd amendment is there for a reason, so peaceful citizens can defend themselves. These aren’t violent thugs. #PHxMosque
— Daniel Carrera (@Pursuitcntns) May 30, 2015
@CassandraRules It doesn’t matter. They’re not there to murder people unlike the Garland shooters.
— Kaitian (@Kaitian1) May 30, 2015
The event’s Facebook page encouraged supporters to “bring American Flags and any message that you would like to send to the known acquaintances of the 2 gunmen” who were shot by police after attempting to attack the Garland, Texas event.
“This Islamic Community Center is a known place that the 2 terrorist frequented,” the Facebook page’s event description said.
At a press conference Friday, the Council on Islamic-American Relations’ Arizona chapter warned worshipers to stay away from the mosque because of the potential for violence.
Ritzheimer also encouraged attendees to bring weapons in case the rally turned dangerous.
Although the protest was loud and marked by yelling and finger-pointing, no one was injured or arrested.
One aggressive First Amendment supporter told an ABC 15 that he is passionate because “I’m American. I believe in my country.”
The reporter told the protester that many of the pro-Islam counter protesters “were born here.”
“They are going to go against everything that’s been taught to them?” the protester shot back, “The First Amendment? Are you serious?”
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