A group of Trump supporters travelled hundreds of miles yesterday to “protest” an empty mosque in Phoenix, Arizona. The “protest” primarily involved a man yelling at the empty mosque with a bullhorn, while he and his fellow protestors argued with nearby residents, reports KPNX.
The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, the name of the mosque, has been repeatedly targeted by Anti-Islamic groups in the recent past, including a protest staged by Oregon militiaman John Ritzheimer last year. This recent protest, led in part by Ruben Israel, the man with the bullhorn, is yet another in a series of noisy, Islamophobic demonstrations against the mosque in Phoenix.
Many of the neighbors living near the mosque, however, have had just about enough of the “protests.” Regardless of how they feel about the group’s political stances, they appear to be fed up with the constant brouhaha over a mosque that doesn’t appear to be causing any problems with the local community. Many showed up to complain, particularly about the noise and the many other issues that protests of this nature bring. One man told KPNX:
‘He’s out here protesting nothing. There’s nobody here, man!’
Usami Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center, confirmed that there were no services being held during the day of the protests. The protestors, therefore, showed up to basically yell at an empty building, proving yet again that these xenophobic groups are often full of little more than hot air in their “demonstrations.” At the very least, they got the press to arrive, but ended up just looking silly in the process.
Israel, the man with the bullhorn, told one of the neighbors who showed up to complain:
‘You got a mosque right here and you’re not doing anything about it. I hope when Trump gets into office he turns this wicked building into a 7-Eleven.’
Israel, while being filmed by the local Phoenix press, then proceeded to rip a page out of a copy of the Quran, citing “free speech” in his defense. While he certainly has the right to do such a thing under the First Amendment, he fails to consider that the same amendment also applies to the 3.3 million Muslim-Americans who are allowed to peacefully assemble and practice their religion as well. Forcibly demolishing a mosque and converting it into a gas-station is a clear violation of that constitutional amendment. Are these protestors aware of how anti-constitutional their demand to shut down a mosque actually is? Or does the law only apply to a privileged group of so-called “Christians?”
Shami released the following statement about the protests, indicating that even the effect of yelling at an empty building can intimidate people:
I’m confident that this is not the majority of the people, but there are certain people who will hate anyone who is different. It intimidates people, especially if there’s nothing going on. I don’t know what the purpose is except showing hate.
GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, the favored candidate of the protestors, has previously called for the surveillance of “certain mosques” in the United States during his campaign. The candidate has built much of his campaign on scapegoating select minority groups as being responsible for many political problems in the United States, often bending the truth and outright lying in the process. Regardless of how many times he is proven wrong, however, it is clear that some people just want to hear what they want to hear.
Featured image via Getty.