Phoenix, Arizona was the new scene of an anti-Islam event on May, 29th. Including a ‘Draw Muhammad’ contest, as well as a literal call to arms, the event ended without any victims registered.
Just a short amount of time had passed since the Texas anti-Islam event ended in panic and two gunmen shut down by the police, the Phoenix rally was another forum for expressing dismay at radical Islam, as well as for two worlds colliding.
The event that took place in front of the Phoenix mosque on Friday was organized by former Marine Jon Ritzheimer, who on top of expressing his view that terrorism at its finest is taking place right on the territory of the world’s top liberty heralding nation, called people to attend the event armed just in case another situation like Texas might ensue.
At the rally he was joined by approximately 200 anti-Islam protesters, with a different camp forming opposite and separated by the police forces. The highly controversial event was set to coincide with the Friday night communal prayer of the Islamic community of Phoenix.
Which led the leaders of the community to issue warnings of their own and ask people to keep safe in their homes. Jon Ritzheimer stated that one of the aims of the gathering was to face those who knew the ISIS related gunmen involved in the Texas events and expose Islam for what it really is.
To some present, it was unclear what the self-declared leader of the rally meant by his statement. And found the event and declarations to provoke anyone’s reason. Even the mayor of Phoenix, Mr. Greg Stanton commented that:
“I’m not happy this is happening in my city. Just because you have a constitutional right to do something doesn’t make it a good idea. And I believe the intent here is to be purposely provocative”.
At this point, the former Marine and Iraq veteran declared that both him and his family have to run into hiding because their name is out there.
It’s a thorny situation and a never-ending saga it seems.
The online exploded at the same time with the event, the two camps clashing this time under the umbrella of the same hashtag: NotMyAmerica.
The right to free speech and expression was invoked by both sides of the conflict. Others declaimed the call for guns at a public event. While others pointed to the irony of the situation.
One Twitter user, Jack Kimble asked people to exercise their imagination:
“Imagine if these were armed Muslim protesters outside a white evangelical church or the Academy of Country Music Awards.”
Maybe a useful imagination exercise that asks people to walk a little in the other’s shoes.
Thankfully, the protest ended with no victims, arrests or significant flares, except for a heated arguing between the two camps, echoing across the law-enforcement corridor.
Image Source: zimbio.com