Phoenix anti-Muslims clash with protestors at Draw Muhammad
Armed anti-Islam protestors defiled the Quran and waved around depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in Phoenix. The stunt led to angry clashes between protestors and counter-protestors. ISIS called for lone wolf attacks on the man who had planned the Draw Muhammad contest. Members of the terrorist group even took to social media and posted the home address of Jon Ritzheimer, the anti-Islam creator of the event that had close to 500 in attendance. ISIS member, Abu Hussain Al Brittani also mocked and threatened Ritzheimer in one tweet after the man urged attendees to bring their guns to the event, saying; ‘Whats your little handguns going to do against an IED that sprays 3000+ ball bearings faster than the speed of sound? #Phoenix #AZ’ As for the drawing contest, only one man was seen with illustrations of the hundreds that were there for the protest. The event was a huge undertaking for law enforcement in the area, who had to respect the First Amendment rights of the attendees while also making sure things do not get out of hand. Ritzheimer planned the event to happen during Friday prayer, a time that the Community Center of Phoenix, where the contest is taking place, would have been most crowded. The event went far later than that though and well into the night. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey meanwhile seemed less than thrilled about the event. ‘Of course I’m a believer in free speech and the First Amendment. I’m also a believer in good judgment and common sense,’ he said. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security had also been in touch with local authorities and the White House said there was no justification for violence at the rally. ‘Even expressions that are offensive, that are distasteful, and intended to sow divisions in an otherwise tight-knit, diverse community in Phoenix cannot be used as a justification to carry out an act of violence,’ said Josh Earnest, White House spokesman. Roads around the area were closed and multiple cameras were used by law enforcement to record the entire event and keep an eye on what is going on at all times. Ritzheimer’s plea that attendees bring guns made the situation even more tense, with many individuals openly walking around with large and small firearms, which is legal in Arizona. The first few hours of the event passed without incident, other than some members from both sides yelling back and forth at one another, with police doing an impressive job of keeping the peace. He also said they were trying to start fights with his protestors, and when one reporter said that was not the case, and that she had video of three instances in which members of his rally were instigating fights with others, he told that woman he would no longer speak to her and all he would say was ‘peace’. Many of the counter-protestors wore shirts that read ‘Love Thy Neighbor,’ while those who could not be there took to Twitter using the hashtag NotMyAmerica.