Phoenix anti-Muslim protest organizer: I thought I was going to die
PHOENIX — The organizer of an anti-Muslim protest outside of a Phoenix mosque said he thought he may be killed by a terrorist during the event.
“I went there that night, with a gun on my hip, fully thinking that I was going to die, that a terrorist was going to try to kill me for exercising my First Amendment (rights),” Jon Ritzheimer said in a video posted to Facebook. (WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE)
Ritzheimer said hackers exposed a good amount of his personal information and created multiple fake social media accounts after the protest.
“This whole thing did blow up in my face,” he said. “I was unprepared.”
In the aftermath, Ritzheimer said certain aspects of the protest, such as his “[Expletive] Islam” shirt — were “stupid.”
“I know my shirt was distasteful — it was stupid — but I wore it because I’m sick of what’s going on,” he said.
He also said a contest to draw the Prophet Muhammad, taboo in Muslim culture, was a stupid idea.
“I don’t care about it,” he said, explaining he wants Americans to be able to express themselves without the threat of death looming overhead.
Ritzheimer placed most of the blame for his new-found fame on the media, which he claimed is spinning the topic.
“Why isn’t CNN or Fox calling me for an interview? I’m not hard to find,” he said. “I would gladly do a ’60 Minutes’ episode with the leader of that mosque.”
About 500 people attended the protest. No arrests were made.