On Friday, Jon Ritzheimer, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, will hold a free speech rally outside the Phoenix mosque allegedly attended by Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, the two gunmen who were killed at the Garland, Texas, event hosted by Pamela Geller. The rally will also include a “Draw Muhammad” contest, just as the Garland event did. On Thursday, Twitchy said, New York Times foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi warned that some of the same accounts that cheered the Garland attack are calling for violence against Ritzheimer.
“Same ISIS accounts that were cheering the Texas Attack are now calling for the following act of violence in Arizona,” Callimachi tweeted. Her message included an embedded tweet that listed Ritzheimer’s address, but, Twitchy added, the account has since been suspended.
“I think you got him suspended!” one person told Callimachi. “Ouch,” she responded. “And I didn’t even report him!”
Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, also issued a tweet warning of possible violence. “#ISIS fighter Junaid Hussain, linked to #garlandshooting urges attack on Jon Ritzheimer at ‘Draw Muhammad’ contest tomorrow & listed address,” she said. According to CNN, Hussain may have played a role in inspiring the Garland gunmen through his tweets, Twitchy added.
According to reports, Twitchy added, police and armed bikers will be on hand in the event of violence. Ritzheimer said on Facebook that participants are encouraged to exercise their Second Amendment rights. He also said that he will be at the event only for a short time due to threats made against his family.
“Credible threats being made and now having to move my family into hiding,” Ritzheimer said late Thursday. “Real nice Islam. Thank you for showing your true colors. I have not made any threats nor do I condone any threats. I’ve been preaching peace this whole time and once again Islam shows its lack of tolerance for others freedom. I will say that I think this cartoon contest is completely stupid, but this is all to show what Islam is about. The only one threatening with violence and that has a track record of it is them. Rally going on as planned.”
According to the Facebook event, the rally is set to start at 6:15 p.m., which, Ritzheimer added, “is when they normally host a large prayer.” So far, 689 people have said they would attend the event.
“Everyone has a right to be a bigot,” said Usama Shami, the current president of the center. “Everyone has a right to be racist.”