NBC does a nice job painting the contest as bigotry and racism. The Imam of the Mosque at question is right; those citizens choosing to participate in the contest have every right to do so. This is America after all and freedom of speech comes in many forms.
Hundreds of people are expected at a rally outside of a Phoenix mosque Friday evening that will include a controversial “Muhammad cartoon contest” — an event that organizers say is inspired by a similar competition in suburban Dallas that turned deadly.
But the organizer of “Freedom of Speech Rally Round II,” Jon Ritzheimer, insists that the protest outside the Islamic Community Center is meant to be peaceful.
“I don’t condone any threats being made to the mosque,” Ritzheimer told NBC affiliate KPNX.
A Facebook page for Friday’s event says it’s “in response to the recent attack in Texas where 2 armed terrorist (sic), with ties to ISIS, attempted Jihad.”
“I’m a Marine, and I’m far from politically correct,” Ritzheimer told the station. “I’m outspoken, and I’ve just had it.”
Two gunmen opened fire with assault rifles at an inaugural Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest on May 3 in Garland, Texas. The event offered a $10,000 prize for cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet, a practice that is considered sacrilegious by Muslims.
Read more: NBC News