The organizer of an anti-Muslim protest in Phoenix insisted on Wednesday that his event was intended to be non-violent despite including the sale of a shirt saying, “F*ck Islam.”
“I’m a Marine, and I am far from politically correct,” Jon Ritzheimer told KPNX-TV. “I’m outspoken, and I’ve just had it.”
The event, which is scheduled to be held on Friday outside a local mosque, will also include a “Draw Muhammed” contest similar to the one organized by conservative activist Pamela Geller in Garland, Texas earlier this month. Ritzheimer, a former Marine Corps member, said he intends for the gathering to be “about pushing out the truth about Islam.”
The Bridge Initiative, a Georgetown University group researching Islamophobia, highlighted the event on its website earlier in the day, pointing out that Ritzheimer has also urged attendees to bring firearms.
“People are also encouraged to utilize there [sic] second amendment right at this event just incase our first amendment comes under the much anticipated attack,” the event site stated. A screenshot of the the remark can be seen below.
The remark is a reference to Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, who were shot and killed by police while attempting to attack Geller’s event. Both men reportedly attended services at the Islamic Community center of Phoenix, the site of Ritzheimer’s protest, until 2010.
The center’s current president, Usama Shami, said he has encouraged members to ignore Ritzheimer and his supporters, saying that they were not looking for an “intellectual conversation.”
“”Everybody has a right to be a bigot,” Shami told KPNX. “Everybody has a right to be a racist. Everybody has a right to be an idiot.”
The Bridge Institute argued that Ritzheimer’s rally is using free speech as a way to excuse “deep-seated animus” toward Muslims.
“The organizers have chosen to intentionally antagonize Muslims at their mosque by arriving en masse, insulting their religion to their faces, intimidating them with their weapons, and expecting that they quietly embrace all of this in the name of the First Amendment,” the institute stated on its website.
Watch KPNX’s report, as aired on Wednesday, below.
WATCH: Alabama GOP official berates reporter about Sodom and Gomorrah after she questions his anti-LGBT rant
Republican Mobile County Treasurer Phil Benson defiantly told a reporter from a local news station to read the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah when she came to ask him about his recent anti-LGBT rant that he posted on Facebook.
The controversy surrounding Benson started when he reacted angrily to a story about a bakery getting sued for refusing to serve an LGBT wedding.
"Freaking queers have gotten too much sympathy," Benson wrote on Facebook in response to the story.
Local news station NBC 15 sent out reporter Andrea Ramey to question him about his remarks, and he tried to insist that she read Chapter 19 of Genesis, which details the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah over their tolerance of homosexuality.
WATCH: Princeton professor jerks a knot in MSNBC anchor for defending ‘innocence’ of racist Harvard reject
Princeton professor Eddie Glaude gave MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle a lesson in social justice on Tuesday after she spoke out in defense of a student who was rejected by Harvard over racist remarks.
During a panel discussion on MSNBC, Glaude argued that Kyle Kashuv should face consequences for his actions, which include using the N-word and calling to "kill all the f*cking Jews."
A Maryland school told them to be quiet — but see what these students did
Following the Parkland school massacre, students from Montgomery Country, Maryland were angry, grieving and scared. So what did they do? They quickly formed MoCo Students For Change and mobilized an estimated 6,000 students from over 40 schools in the area to attend a student rally on Capitol Hill that they organized to fight against gun violence.
In Brave New Films’ latest #YouthInAction series, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to organize this event through the perspective of the MoCo students themselves. Watch as they fight for their survival.