They said the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix was chosen because it “is a known place that the 2 terrorist [sic] frequented”.
Jon Ritzheimer, a former Marine, is planning to hold the controversial protest in front of a Phoenix mosque. They’re the men who drove from Arizona to a Dallas suburb to shoot up a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest there.
The rally is being organized by Jon Ritzheimer and Flash Nelson, who appear to believe that arms are necessary following the attack on another contest earlier this month, in Garland, Texas.
Several people on Facebook who said they would be attending the protest, including an organizer, have posted photos to the group of themselves armed with rifles.
Ritzheimer scheduled the rally to coincide with Friday evening prayer, and is encouraging people to bring cartoon drawings of the Prophet Muhammad to enter into a contest.
Usama Shami, president of the community center, knew about the protest from Phoenix police and the FBI and said he respected the bikers’ right to demonstrate, he told local station 12 News. The restaurant has expressed concern about the protest to both Phoenix Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “The intelligence related to the crowd is changing all the time”, he said. He was on CNN discussing the event Thursday night, where he said the contest is an attempt to expose the true, violent nature of Islam.
So, where is the line drawn when it comes to Freedom of Speech and inciting violence? “I’m also a believer in good judgment and common sense”, he told the affiliate. My family is currently packing up and they are going into hiding. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman.
“We will have an appropriate presence at the event based on the information we’ve gathered”, Crump said.
“It is a very scattered group of individuals with different causes that for the most part are signing on and signing up to come to this”, Crump added.
The decision was made after Texas activist and conservative blogger Pamela Geller requested the system place ads showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. And one other thing, the rally features another cartoon contest.
The rally comes a day after the Washington Metro board voted to stop showing issue ads throughout its system.
Imraan Siddiqi with the Council on American-Islamic Relations has reported receiving several threats.
Two mosques in the US state of Arizona have received identical letters containing threats against Muslims there.
Siddiqi also called on the Obama administration to treat a planned religiously-motivated attack on a Muslim community in New York as an act of terrorism and to charge the admitted organizer of the attack as a terrorist.
It was inevitable we’d see more of these. “We’re advising people…it’s better to stay clear from the event, don’t engage with these people”.