The organizer of a free-speech rally held outside a Phoenix mosque Friday said he and his family are going into hiding after threats on his life.
Friday’s protest, organized by former Marine Jon Ritzheimer, was held outside the Islamic Community Center, a mosque attended by the two men who were killed by police after they attacked the Prophet Muhammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. The protest was peaceful, thanks in part to a heavy police presence, although it attracted a vocal counter-protest.
Ritzheimer told Fox 10 Phoenix that those protesting his event are “mad.”
“They’re mad at us for exercising our First Amendment rights,” he said. “This is further proof that our First Amendment is under attack. This is tyranny right here. This is tyranny at its finest.”
Ritzheimer said the tyranny has come in the form of threats to his family’s safety.
“I’m having to sell my house. My family is in hiding right now,” he said. “I’m having to go into hiding after this because they’re calling for a ‘lone wolf’ to come and behead me. That’s following their book as it’s written … and that’s tyranny.
“That’s terrorism, right here in America,” he added. “This isn’t happening overseas, this is in America.”
Fox 10 asked Ritzheimer what he’ll do next.
“I’m going into hiding,” he said. “I hope more patriots take a stand. Don’t talk about it, ‘be’ about it.”
Ritzheimer said he respects Muslims’ right to exercise their religion, but he will step up when they try to oppress American citizens.
“Enough is enough. I have two beautiful daughters, and I’m not going to let them be raised in a society like that,” he said.
When asked if the event was worth the trouble, Ritzheimer paused for a moment before saying, “Let’s ask our Founding Fathers if it was worth it for them to sign the Declaration of Independence.”
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