Someone organized a protest outside a Phoenix mosque today. Jon Ritzheimer has been critical of Islam, and says that criticism led to death threats, so he organized a protest outside of a mosque in Phoenix tonight, asking supporters to come armed but remain peaceful. That protest may include a draw Mohammed contest. Phoenix's mayor condemned the contest and protest as "purposefully provocative," saying he wasn't happy it was happening while admiting protesters had the right to free speech. Would he have made the same comment if a Slut Walk were organized in his city?
Counter-protesters showed up for a "love in," and the cops showed up to stand in the middle and "keep the peace." Authorities say they're not worried about the protest getting violent, unless outsiders infiltrate it, a common refrain. A group of bikers was supposed to meet a nearby Denny's before joining the protest, so the Denny's closed. Police say they've installed cameras around the mosque to monitor the protest.
Watch a live feed via News 12 below:
You can follow the indignation live on Twitter. I can't claim to understand the motivation of people who would come to protest outside any kind of religious center during religious services, but I don't have to understand it to understand that these protests, the counter-protests, the indignation on Twitter, and even the agitation to ban hate speech, are all what makes free speech, and freedom in America so awesome. Ritzheimer admits his protest, which he hopes remains peaceful, is "stupid." So is stomping on the American flag, he says, but it doesn't hurt anyone either. And if you can't be stupid while not hurting anyone violating the rights of others*, how free are you?