An anti-Islamic protest has taken place outside the former mosque of two men who launched a gun attack on an earlier, similar event.
Former Marine Jon Ritzheimer, the organiser, encouraged rally attendees to demonstrate their Second Amendment rights by bringing firearms to the Phoenix Islamic Community Center during evening prayers.
"This is in response to the recent attack in Texas where two armed terrorists, with ties to Isis, attempted Jihad,” he said. “Everyone is encouraged to bring American flags and any message that you would like to send to the known acquaintances of the two gunmen.”
Hundreds of anti-Islam demonstrators showed up to the so-called rally — toting AK-47s, rifles and other firearms — screaming hate-filled speech, according to Fox 10 Phoenix.
Many who planned to attend prayers did not show up to the mosque, fearing retaliation from the armed demonstrators.
Meanwhile, Imraan Siddiqi, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Phoenix chapter, said that the event displays the "intersection of Islamaphobia and gun culture" and that it's not a forum for dialogue.
"When we see these two things then obviously it becomes more of a concern," he said. "We're advising people it's better to stay clear from the event, don't engage with these people."
The event sparked a debate about the limits of insightful speech and media coverage across America.
Society and media quick to call young unarmed Black kids "thugs" but armed white men in front of mosques are bikers. #NotMyAmericahyphen; fatuma. (@FatumaOlhai) May 30, 2015
ISIS attacked a Saudi mosque today Armed Islamophobes are threatening to attack a Phoenix mosque I can't see the difference #NotMyAmericahyphen; عمر فلسطين (@WeTeachLifeSir_) May 30, 2015
Prophet Mohamed cartoon exhibition shooting: Two armed men shot dead after opening fire on 'free speech' event in Garland, Texas.
Earlier in May, gunmen Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, flatmates from Phoenix who were inspired by Isis, opened fire at an event in Garland, Texas, that was displaying cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed.
The event had been organised by Pamela Geller, who heads the American Freedom Defence Initiative, a right-wing group that some activists have accused of hate speech.