Crowds gather for anti-Islam demonstration outside Phoenix mosque

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A demonstrator waves during the "Freedom of Speech Rally Round II" across from the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix, Ariz.

As demonstrator waves during the "Freedom of Speech Rally Round II" across from the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix, Ariz. May 29, Christian counter-protesters carried "Love Thy Neighbor" signs. REUTERS/Nancy Wiechec

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(Reuters) The anti-Muslim event outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix was organized by an Iraq war veteran who posted photos of himself online wearing a T-shirt with a crude slogan denigrating Islam and waving the U.S. flag.

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  • Jim Hendon

    I don’t agree with the tactics but it is bringing the fact that if you criticize Islam you will be threatened with death, IEDs beheading and murder of your family. Proof that Muslims can not assimilate into our society and furthermore, into any society other than a Muslim society. Look at anywhere on the globe that they go.

  • Ben in oakalnd

    And out come the religious bigots, each of these black pots calling the kettle a negro.

    What is it with you?

  • Grindstone

    How is that any different than anything else? People have received death threats for posting veterinarian videos saving homeless animals (See: Vet Ranch on YouTube). Is that “proof” that all people on YouTube cannot assimilate into our society? Do the death and rape threats received by Jessica Ahlquist after she sought to have a religious prayer removed from a public school establish “proof” that all Christians cannot assimilate into a free society?
    No, you just want anything you can grasp to justify your own bigotry and small-mindedness.

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  • Be Brave

    Ben,

    Seriously?

    Islam and Muslims have been utterly homicidal/genocidal towards anyone and anything NOT Islamic since Mohammad started his war of conquest.

    It is FAR PAST time that citizens of the world face the facts that Islam is as dangerous to the planet as both Germany and Japan were in the 20th century.

    The hypocrisy is purely on your side of the political and social worldviews. If you think liberals/progressives/atheists are going to fair well under Islamic rule, you may as well try to get a rocket and live on Mars. At least until Islam claims Mars too. And then you will face and endure violent Jihad on Mars.

  • Be Brave

    “We should remind ourselves that we do not match wrongness with wrongness, but with grace and mercy and goodness,”

    Usama Shami told worshippers during Friday prayers.

    No, he should remind Muslims everywhere they congregate that Islam has murdered and enslaved “the Kafir” (non-Muslims) since the founding of this religion of pure violence. Mohammad left his cave and started murdering people in the name of the religion he invented as a means of spreading Islam. ISIS is just doing what Mohammad DID and demanded!

    History is not as easy to hide as is propaganda from the Left.

    Islam should be treated the same as KKK-christianity. Obviously Americans cannot rid this land of KKK-christianity, and we should relegate Islam to the same category until MUSLIMS rid their religion of the commands FROM MOHAMMAD to instigate horrors on people that refuse Islamic authority.

    Can anyone show me how the protesters AND my view is wrong?

  • Be Brave

    Friday’s event was part of “an epidemic of anti-Islamic sentiment” that goes beyond protesting against extremism, said Imraan Siddiqi of the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

    “Don’t mistake that, they’re not saying they want to rid America of radical Islam, they are saying they want to rid America of Islam,” Siddiqi said.

    An epidemic????

    How is it wrong for the peoples of earth to demand that Islam STOP its 1500-years of pure violence on the populace of the world?

    How can any “Muslim” claim victim status with THEIR history of pure totalitarian VIOLENCE on all peoples that will not “submit” to ISLAM . . . which means submit!!!!! ????

    ISIS and Mohammad are of the same process.

    How is it a “phobia” to rationally fear having your children enslaved by Muslims, your head cut off for refusing this religion, and for seeing Muslims DO NOTHING to change their 1500 years tactics when challenged for having to face what they are and their…

  • Andrew Z

    So you believe… all of Islam is like Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan?
    What then is your solution? What should you or I do to rid the entire globe of this? Be honest and don’t shrink from it. Because your articulation, your belief, as I understand it, is begging for an action. What is that action? (And while you’re at it, include your religious/faith affiliation as well)

  • opheliart

    “And out come the religious bigots, each of these black pots calling the kettle a negro.”

    Ben,
    Jon is an Atheist.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/05/28/phoenix-atheist-will-host-draw-muhammad-event-tonight-just-outside-local-mosque/

    Peace

  • JR

    What’s wrong with this protest? It is an American tradition, and Muslims should not be treated with kid gloves. No one was hurt, and perhaps Islam will begin to deal with its public image in the Western world. We didn’t cut off their heads, we just are expressing our outrage since the President does nothing.

  • Ben in Oakland

    One does not have to be religious to be a religious bigot. whether this organizer is an atheist or not is of no concern to me. What does concern me is his willingness to “expose the true colors of islam.”

    I was referring to the first poster, and those whom I knew would follow, including BB.

    Speaking of BB: Yes, indeedy I am a liberal. My issue is with theocrats, religionists, bigots, and dominionists, who use their religious beliefs as their justification for the harm they inflict on other people that they don’t know and know nothing about. I no more support the atrocities of radical islam than I support the atrocities of any other radical religious group.

    My issue is not with religion, though personally, I hold no truck with it. My issue is with people who refuse to live in peace with their neighbors, who are willing to tell any lie about them, no matter how vicious, to satisfy their social, religious, and political agendas.

    Hmmmm. I wonder who that sounds like?

  • American Muslims are not the problem. Muslims in America are well educated and incredibly productive as a group across all industries: Medical, technical, scientific and academics.
    Furthermore, Muslims are not the problem.

    The problem is in these RACIST RELIGIONS: the primitive nonsense of Islam clashes directly with the primitive nonsense of Christianity:

    “Infidels are those who declare: “God is the Christ, the son of Mary.” (Sura 5:17)
    “Kill the disbelievers wherever we find them.” (Sura 2:191)
    “EXECUTE THEM IN FRONT OF ME” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “Avoid them” – (Romans 16:16)

    Any civilized behavior will happen as a direct result of IGNORING these primitive notions of reality.

    Death is death. These religions are lies. Get over it.

  • Vicar Dave

    I am a committed, thoughtful Christian who has studied theology and doctrine. Islam shares with Jews and Christians the ancient Jewish text that we call the Old Testament. We share more than we differ.
    There are actions by a radical fringe in Islam that I find disgusting -the actions of radical Islam and not of the Prophet , may his name be praised. There are also many actions done by Christians that i find disgusting such as the residential schools in Canada, the actions of some Christians against same-sex relatio0nships and the actions of Jews against Palestinians in the settlement of their lands. That being said, there are wondrous Christians and wondrous Jews as well as wondrous Muslims.

    Why do we need to raise hate in our world? What is behind it? Perhaps it is a mask to cover our own insecurities and sin.

  • @Grindston:

    “Bigotry”

    Do you think any of this is bigoted?

    “Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends.” (Sura 5:51)
    “Infidels are those who say ‘God is one of three in a Trinity.’ (Sura 5:73)
    “Make war on the infidels who dwell around you. (Sura 9:123)
    “Mohammed is Allah’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to infidels.” (Sura 48:29)

    If any of that is considered bigoted, you cannot say that it is bigoted to argue against it.

    Religions are just ideas. That is all they are. Primitive, racist, filthy notions about reality.

    If it is bigoted to preach a racist religion, it cannot be bigoted to oppose a racist religion!

  • BB,

    “dangerous……Germany and Japan…”

    The Third Reich was a RELIGION.
    Hirohito was A RELIGION.

    You need to read history. Religion is what repeatedly blows up into armed conflagration. Even the French Terror of ENFORCED REASON was a religion!

    Fascism comes from Messianism; The idea that a man/god brings a perfect message which can be dogmatically followed and lead the world to some perfect society.

    It will never work.
    Which is why the founders of the United States ATHEISTICALLY forbade Religion in Government – TO PREVENT MESSIANISM.

    Separation of Church and State is the only protection we have from Messianist (religious) tyranny.

  • @Vicar Dave,

    “Why do we need to raise hate in our world? What is behind it? Perhaps it is a mask to cover our own insecurities and sin.”

    The enemy of peace
    may be closer than you think!

    “Hate them…hate your life, or you are not worthy” – Jesus (Luke 14:26)
    “I shall kill her children with Death” – Jesus (REV. 2:23)
    “The master shall cut him to pieces” – Jesus (Luke 12)
    “Kill the disbelievers wherever we find them.” – Allah (Sura 2:191)
    “Avoid them” – Romans (16:17)

    Beware these philosophies. They have nothing to do with love but are primitive tribalist, war-mongering, racist nonsense.

    Never let anyone tell you is it is ‘bigoted’ to discuss these philosophies critically.

  • “God, I thank You that I am not like other people…” — (Luke 18:11)

    What a mess religion is.

  • Eric

    What’s wrong with these protests is that they give morons half a reason to spout more lies, stereotypes, and other nonsense motivated by willed ignorance and fear.

    What’s wrong with these protests is that overweight, childish men play dress up with camo and guns in the name of patriotism while actual soldiers have to fight in the wars these tools vote for.

    What’s wrong with these protests is that these self-loathing wastes of oxygen have nothing better to do or better way to deal with reality than blame others for their manufactured fears.

    What’s wrong with these protests is that the media obsesses over them as if their irrational ideas and statements merit attention.

    What’s wrong with the protests is that they actually increase the problems they think they are addressing by playing right into the script written by many Islamic terrorists.

    What’s wrong with these protests is that they represent the absolute worst aspects of contemporary American culture.

  • Greg1

    This is no different than a gay pride march. People have the right to express themselves. They should have a statue of Obama ringing his hands to lead the demonstration.

  • ben in oakland

    @Greg:

    Because there really is no difference between saying “those people are the enemy” and “stop hitting us with a 2×4”.

    Because there really is no difference between saying “All people who believe X are all exactly alike, think alike, and are really fascists who want to kill you” and “Stand up for who you are, stand up for your rights,”

    Right. got it.

  • ben in oakland

    just what I’m saying.

  • Greg1

    Ben, we have a First Amendment, which states: we have the “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” At present, people are being freely killed by ISIS, and most recently we had the incident in Texas, and our government is doing nothing about it. So these people have the right to do this. Do I agree with it? No I do not. However, I don’t agree with the gay agenda either, and don’t complain when they have their marches and assemblies. So this is all about freedom of speech. But it certainly can be likened to throwing a rock in a bee’s nest. But then again, as a Catholic, I get similar treatment all the time on this site, as well as other places.

  • The Great God Pan

    “Do the death and rape threats received by Jessica Ahlquist… establish ‘proof’ that all Christians cannot assimilate into a free society?”

    All? No. Many? Certainly.

  • OldGuy

    It is certainly a mess, when you grab a verse out of context, and try to use it critically.

    If you want to argue your points effectively you are going to have to make a greater effort.

  • OldGuy,

    “…out of context.”

    Jesus offers only two choices:

    Either be a selfish jerk like the Pharisees (Luke 18:11)
    Or surrender completely to the Lord. (Luke 18:13)

    That is the mess!
    Neither option excuses the other. They are shades of the same choice.
    It is an insult to human intelligence.

  • Cranmer

    America’s greatest sin as a nation is on parade here — confusing Christianity with the mythology of the nation state and aligning faith with racist politics of domination and evil. This event is disgusting and hideous. As I seek to follow Jesus Christ, the great Prince of Peace, I have to rebuke this kind of evil activity and ask that the people behind this event repent and turn towards the Lord.

  • Larry

    No, its proof that Muslims in countries occupied by US forces and those in craphole dictatorships are ornery.

    If you want proof that Muslims assimilate in the US, look no further than the large Muslim enclaves in Michigan, California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. If you were somehow remotely correct, those areas would look like the disgusting slum of outer Paris. Instead you have fairly sedate, safe, middle class neighborhoods.

    The idea of protesting a house of worship for the transgression of existing is disgusting for Americans. It violates our very principles of free exercise of religion. But then again there are times people in Arizona have love/hate relationship with constitutional principles. Their politicians are some of the most batsh1t crazy ones in the country.

    I am ashamed to share citizenship with these protesters.

  • Larry

    “Can anyone show me how the protesters AND my view is wrong?”

    Yes you are complaining that the Inam won’t share the same hate as you. You are showing that bigots can’t be reasoned with. Even when they act in a morally upright manner, you are criticizing him.

    It is wrong in this country to protest a religion for existing, for relying guilt by association to attack others.

  • Larry

    Hey Greg1, the congregation of that mosque have 1st Amendment rights also, but you don’t respect them. People who really support the 1st amendment would be criticizing the protesters.

    Your rights are always limited to the point where you harm others. Your religious beliefs are not a valid excuse to discriminate in open commerce. The right to free speech and to assemble ends when it becomes a lynch mob.

    The protesters have a right to gather and spew their bigoted sectarian nonsense. The public has a right to call them out on it as well. The congregants have a right to expect public and peaceable worship of their faith.

  • Larry

    “It is certainly a mess, when you grab a verse out of context, and try to use it critically. ”

    Like every anti-muslim post ever.

  • Bill

    Not being a Muslim I can’t say if you are misquoting the Quran, I can say you are misquoting the Bible in a very obviously corrupt way. Luke 19:27 is Jesus is relating a story about a stern masters response he is not saying to execute non-believers. I have a manual at work that reads “removal of the following subroutine will kill the emloyee database” If I just used “kill the employee” as evidence of Corporate genocide I would be laughed at. Also Romans 16:16 does not coontain the words “avoid them” but Romans 16:17 does but the whole verse reads “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.” and verse 18 explains that he is talking about men who are slaves “to their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.” people that would twist the truth for thier own purposes (con men like faith healers and TV…

  • Jack

    There’s plenty wrong with the protests, Eric, but your post hasn’t contributed a darned thing in terms of substantive criticism.

    What’s wrong with the protests is that their demands are incapable of being fulfilled. They are not demanding that Islam reform, that Islam get its act together, or that Muslims condemn other Muslims for barbarian behavior. Rather, they are demanding that Islam go out of existence.

    And that is an absolutely asinine position, because no organization is going to accede to the demand that it destroy itself.

  • Jack

    The protests appear to be a cynical publicity stunt, because substantively, what they are demanding of a religion is that it voluntarily go out of business.

    Constructive protests would demand that the mosque do more to preach and teach and act against the horrors of Islamist terrorism, that Muslim communities do more self-policing, that Islam reform itself and renounce jihad, etc.

    Such demands are capable of being fulfilled — but demanding that Islam agree to go out of business obviously cannot.

  • Jack

    Max, what are you yammering about? Try to stay focused on the matter at hand.

  • Larry

    They are protesting the existence of a given religion in their presence. They are demanding a Muslim-frei neighborhood.

    These anti-Muslim protesters usually fail to understand (or deliberately ignore) the fact that:
    1) American Muslim groups and mosques FREQUENTLY criticize Islamicism and its violence.

    2) American Muslim communities are far better integrated than their European counterparts. A large % (if not the largest) of American Muslims are African American converts.

    3) American Muslims have been far more modern about their faith than in other countries. [You want to see reform of the faith, look towards American Muslims]

  • Jack

    (1) Yes and no. There is some criticism, but not nearly enough. Nor is there enough cooperation with law enforcement.

    (2) True. Muslim Americans are far better integrated into American society than their European counterparts are in their respective countries. Part of the reason is that America integrates people well. Another part is self-selection. The Muslims who come here tend more to be the cream of the crop…..well-educated, professional, wanting to advance.

    3) True as of today, but there’s reason for concern over the horizon……Much of the money for the latest mosque construction is Wahhabi money.

  • Jack

    That’s like saying “what a mess all air is.”

    Some of it’s polluted….but trying doing without any of it.

    Or better yet, try building atheist states instead….

    Hello killing fields and gulags…..great leaps forward…..five-year (starvation) plans…..neo-Malthusian lunacy….Dear Leader paeans to baby-faced butchers….”re-education” camps…..

    Wonderful….just wonderful.

  • Larry

    1) “Never enough” is purely subjective to whatever you feel like chastising the entire American Muslim community for. An equivocation to disregard what is out there and continue a narrative which is demonstratively false. There is plenty of criticism out there for people interested in finding it.

    2) Not always the case. America has very light asylum/refugee/naturalization laws in comparison to most of Europe, which is a draw to those with the means to get here. Plus there is a large homegrown convert community here which is largely absent in Europe in similar numbers.

    3) There is a lot of discussion of the subject from sources which are questionable at best.

  • Jack.

    Enforced Atheism IS a religion:

    “Thou shalt have no gods before me” is a religion.
    It was not only Yahweh’s demand.
    It is also uttered by the dear leader, Hirohito, Franco, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot…..

    God/Man Messiahs with their absolutist, perfect, supernatural dogma
    is exactly what defines religion.

    Only our Atheist Constitution keeps us all free:
    “Thou shalt have no claimed God over this country!”
    – US Constitution

    (“Congress shall make no law establishing a religion…”)

    May all religions eventually die a natural death. Including Christianity.

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  • John duffin

    Japan has no problem with Muslims .
    You know why???
    Japan does not allow Muslims into their country and we should do the same .
    Islam is 100% more political than his religious.
    This is like allowing Nazis to immigrate in 1939 into the United States.

  • Ridiculous. Read the Constitution – you can’t forbid a religion.
    Because then you would have to forbid all people who believe in Astrology, Luck, UFO’s, Sasquatch, Santa Claus, Easter Bunnies, Genies, and Palm reading.

    It is all shades of the same self-deluding nonsense.

    “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard Feynman

    May reason and rational thinking finally win. Someday it must – or we are all doomed.

  • Larry

    That is untrue.

    Iranian immigrants make up one of the largest groups brought into Japan, just behind Brazilians. Although Japan doesn’t like to acknowledge its immigration policies too publicly, they have been importing labor from the Middle East for the better part of a generation.

    As a nation which RESPECTS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, we cannot be barring people from this nation on the basis of their faith.

    Christianity in this country is more politicized than religious these days. That doesn’t mean very much.

    “This is like allowing Nazis to immigrate in 1939 into the United States.”

    Had we had a more open immigration policy back then, more people fleeing the Nazis would have survived. I guess you would like to forget the tens of thousands of people we turned away who ended up being murdered by Nazis.

    Plus we had “Operation Paperclip”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Paperclip

  • Jack

    (1) No, not “never enough,” but flatly not enough thus far….as in far from being enough at present. Muslim-American reformers have said it themselves….and if we deny the problem, we’re cutting the legs out from under them and their much-needed message.

    (2) No problem there.

    (3) Big problem here. And the problem is coupled by the concern that based on Europe’s experiences, radicalization often comes within the second generation, the one born in a western country but searching for its spiritual identity. There is a vulnerability there that radical Islamists seek to exploit.

    Bottom line: We have reason for optimism in America, but the optimism must be balanced with realism. The reluctance to work consistently with law enforcement and the potential for radicalization of the next generation are causes for concern. We’re far better off than Europe, but that doesn’t mean we can be complacent.

  • Larry

    1) But they are not denying the problem. Especially if you are allegedly referring to Muslim reformers. Far from it. You are just not willing to let go of an oft used but factually false argument.

    3) The US situation is far far different than Europe. Their experiences tell us how NOT to have immigration policies and how NOT to treat religious minorities. Most importantly it shows us how we should be thankful for a system with full religious freedoms hardwired into it.

    Despite the bogus claims of many fundamentalist Christians, the United States has no cultural identity linked with religion of its majority population. Nor is cultural identity linked by language or race. This does quite a bit to avoid much of the alienation which is rampant in Europe. There is no evidence to support a growing radicalization among American Muslims as a group.

  • Jack

    (1) I’m saying that if we as non-Muslims deny the problem, we are inadvertently harming Muslim reformers who are focusing forthrightly on the problem. If we wish the reformers to prevail, the last thing we should advocate is sweeping such problems under the rug. That would be undercutting them.

    (3) Agreed….the evidence for a spike in radicalization in America is not there. But we’d be fools not to assess the risks that it’s coming and to try to mitigate them. We are in a much better position than Europe for lots of reasons, but complacency is no option.

    Bottom line: We must avoid two extremes: demonizing all or most practitioners of a particular religion and whitewashing a real problem that’s happening in Europe and pretending it could never happen here.

  • stanely21s

    Surprising the level of ignorance coming from people claiming to be secularists. Attempting to pretend all is equal with religious brutality in 2015 is remarkably naive. Most Christian nations are secular and have been for some time. That means that crazy extremists are held in check by the RULE OF LAW. In Islamic societies brutality IS the law. Jihad is a global movement and these people are right to be concerned about its spread. Particularly this mosque which has a history of radical affiliations. Redneck or not, these Americans aren’t cutting anybody’s heads off. And pretending its “all equal” is dangerous – Jihad is spreading from within. Just look at the history of this mosque, the one no one in the national media will acknowledge.

  • stanely21s

    Attempting to pretend all is equal with religious brutality in 2015 is remarkably naive. Most Christian nations are secular and have been for some time. That means that crazy extremists are held in check by the RULE OF LAW. In Islamic societies brutality IS the law. Jihad is a global movement and these people are right to be concerned about its spread. Particularly this mosque which has a history of radical affiliations. Redneck or not, these Americans aren’t cutting anybody’s heads off. And pretending its “all equal” is dangerous. Jihad is spreading from within. Just look at the history of this mosque.

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  • Larry

    “That means that crazy extremists are held in check by the RULE OF LAW.”

    Not if you ask Christian fundamentalists. They seek to avoid rule of law by claiming their faith absolves them of following it.

    You have people protesting the existence of a religion. That is disgusting just on principle.

    Christian nations have a problem with extremism becoming mainstream precisely because they are “Christian nations”. Cultural and national identity is so locked into religious/ethnic/racial identity that those nations do really stupid things when it comes to minorities in any of those categories. Religious tolerance is no substitute for religious freedom. Tolerance is at sufferance of others. Freedom is in spite of others.

    America is far different in that respect. This is why Muslim minorities in this country tend to be far more successful than in other developed nations. That mosque is holding a “peace in” in response to angry potentially violent bigots.

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