Ex marine Jon Ritzheimer believes “true Islam is terrorism”
Possibly the most controversial event to hit Arizona this year, it starts with a F..ck Islam T shirt and progresses to a Draw Mohammad contest (images of the Prophet Muhammad are strictly forbidden in Islam). Participants are expected to include a biker gang that is encouraged to come armed and the crowds will be gathering outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix where Friday prayers are held.
Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi are known to have attended the center mosque in the past, they were the 2 gunmen who were shot dead after opening fire outside a conference on cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a suburb of Dallas in early May.
The event, advertised as a “freedom of speech” rally is being organized by Jon Ritzheimer who believes “true Islam is terrorism”. Some argue the ex-marine is playing right into the hands of the Islamic State narrative of the west being “at war with Islam”? Imraan Siddiqi from the Council on American-Islamic Relations told CNN of the fear of local Muslim communities in the area, stating, “recently the mosques here in Phoenix actually received threatening letters — very specific threats, saying that we are going to massacre your congregations.”
The Facebook page for the Rally event reads,
“ROUND 2!!!!!!! This will be a PEACEFUL protest in front of the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix AZ. This is in response to the recent attack in Texas where 2 armed terrorist, with ties to ISIS, attempted Jihad. Everyone is encouraged to bring American Flags and any message that you would like to send to the known acquaintances of the 2 gunmen. This Islamic Community Center is a known place that the 2 terrorist frequented. People are also encouraged to utilize there second amendment right at this event just incase our first amendment comes under the much anticipated attack.”
A perusal of the FB page showed cartoon images likely to cause great offence to many Muslims. One entitled “Obama and Muhammad on a prayer rug” shows a naked President in a compromising position kneeling behind Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who is on all fours wearing nothing but a pakol (Pashtun hat) both bodies are tatooed. Writing accompanying the image reads, “Islam is not a religion. Islam is a stone worshipping cult of hate and oppression.” Another cartoon is entitled the “vile” Prophet Muhammad and depicts the Prophet as a dinosaur carrying a walking stick with Islamic crescents on his ears and a sabre in his right hand with the words, “slay the Kafirs wherever you find them ALLAHU AKBAR.”
In response to the event announcement, (before sight of the cartoons) Muslims are already feeling riled and Rita Katz, Director of SITE Intelligence Group has tweeted that,
ISIS fighter Junaid Hussain, linked to
#garlandshooting urges attack on Jon Ritzheimer at “Draw Muhammad” contest tomorrow & listed address
Ritzheimer has reportedly moved his relatives from the family home. Police are increasing security around the mosque. Jerusalem Post printed a response to an email with questions regarding the event, Phoenix police Sergeant Trent Crump stated,
“dealing with this type of activity is a challenge that is facing law enforcement across the country”
“dealing with groups of protesters and opposing views is not the difficult part. Our goal and the real challenge are trying to anticipate unlawful activities that might occur in conjunction with these events.”
Meanwhile back in the UK, Huffington Post reported that,
“a former Ukip leader has asked the Government if it will support a Prophet Mohammed drawing competition…
Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who led the anti-EU party between 2009 and 2010, formally submitted the question to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) yesterday.”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.