Twitchy described a free-speech protest just outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix on May 29 as “a somewhat heated, but peaceful stand-off,” with plenty of angry shouting but no acts of violence reported as riot police physically separated Muslims from a group of protesters, some armed. Protest organizer Jon Ritzheimer put together the rally in direct response to a “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland, Texas, organized by Pamela Geller that was attacked by two armed Muslims who had attended the Phoenix mosque.
Now, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and André Carson (D-Ind.) are asking Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Justice Department to investigate the Phoenix rally and determine if the presence of the protesters violated the First Amendment rights of the worshippers. The two also suspect the protest might have violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
“These demonstrators argue that they are exercising their First Amendment rights,” wrote Ellison and Carson to Attorney General Lynch. “What they fail to understand is that First Amendment rights are not absolute; they are limited to protect the safety and rights of others.”
The two concluded:
“The presence of assault weapons coupled with deep seeded bigotry and hate speech creates a clear and present danger to worshipers and threatens lawless action.
“The activity of these armed anti-Muslim demonstrators comes at a time when anti-Muslim hate crimes are on the rise. As anti-Muslim violence and bigotry sweep across the country, we must do everything we can to prevent further tragedy and discrimination.”
Ellison and Carson attached photos from the demonstration but failed to mention that, in addition to the heavy police presence at the event, White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security was monitoring the protest and was in touch with state and local law-enforcement authorities.
Did we mention that the “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland, Texas is the one at which shots were fired? Here’s video of organizer Geller asking if the mosque that the attackers attended was going to be investigated.