Jon Ritzheimer is a former Marine, and he has no middle ground when it comes to Islam. His T-shirt pretty much says it all: "F--- Islam." Ritzheimer is the organizer of Friday's "Freedom of Speech Rally" outside the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix.
The rally "This is in response to the recent attack in Texas where 2 armed terrorist(s), with ties to ISIS, attempted Jihad," the event's Facebook page said. Some 600 people say they're attending. It's scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m., about the time evening prayers are taking place inside the center. The rally also features its own cartoon contest, similar to the one targeted in Texas. "I think the whole thing, the cartoon contest especially, I think it's stupid and ridiculous," Ritzheimer said, "but it's what needs to take place in order to expose the true colors of Islam."
Police will use cameras to record the event "to capture things that go on" and will close roads, said Sgt. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman. So far, the event seems to be attracting a variety of people, he 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.
"Recently the mosques here in Phoenix actually received threatening letters -- very specific threats, saying that we are going to massacre your congregations," he said.
Ritzheimer anticipates possible problems because of the rally and says people should bring their guns. "People are also encouraged to utilize (their) second amendment right at this event just (in case) our first amendment comes under the much anticipated attack," the event's Facebook page says. Bikers will be there too, according to the post. Siddiqi calls it the "intersection of Islamophobia and (the) gun culture." "When we see these two things ... then obviously it becomes more of a concern," he said. "We're advising people ... it's better to stay clear from the event, don't engage with these people."
Recipe for disaster...