Police were successful in keeping the peace between to two separate groups of demonstrators outside of a Phoenix, AZ, mosque last Friday. The event was organized as a “freedom of speech” protest by American “patriots” against Islam. But a roughly equal number of counterprotestors showed up to support freedom of religion.
Jon Ritzheimer, an organizer of the ant-Islam rally, was disappointed by the number of opposition protestors.
“The American people need to wake up and understand that we have to fight fire with fire,” he said. “ISIS is counting on our complacency. Of we’re not willing to act like them and engage in a full-blown religious war – they’ll win.”
Ritzheimer also told the media that he was going into hiding for his own safety.
“Like I said, we have to be willing to go as far as they do,” he explained. “So I’m going to borrow the tactics of those ISIS leaders who hideout while encouraging others to go on suicide missions.”
On January 26, 2016, Ritzheimer voluntarily surrendered to police for being one of the right-wing extremists who took part in the illegal seizure of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters building in Oregon. In August he was sentenced to a year in federal prison.
In December 0f 2017 Arizona’s U.S. Representative Trent Franks announced he was resigning, and Ritzheimer was one of the Republicans who subsequently announced they were running in the special election to fill his seat.
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