Ritzheimer, a former Marine, catapulted himself into the public eye earlier this year after he made inflammatory comments saying that the Qur'anic teachings of Islam are “insane, barbaric, and not good for humanity,” and after he spoke to Anderson Cooper on CNN.
He told New Times in late May — back when he was still talking to the media — that it was a combination of what he saw during his two tours in Iraq, and what he learned while studying world religions in college, that helped him to realize “what we’re up against [because] Islam is a big issue” that’s threatening Americans' rights.
Ritzheimer organized his Phoenix rally in response to the May 3 attack in Texas in which two armed men, Elton Simpson and Nadir Hamid Soofi, opened fire outside a Muhammad cartoon drawing contest in Garland, Texas. The men were from Phoenix and died in the subsequent shootout, and a third Phoenix resident, Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, was indicted by a federal jury last month for helping plan the attack and procure the weapons.
After the May 29 rally, which drew hundreds but remained peaceful, Ritzheimer announced publicly that he and his family have been threatened, and that they were going into hiding.
But then on July 6, he turned up at what was supposed to be a rally against Walmart for its decision to stop selling Confederate flags in the wake of the horrific shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, but devolved into a shouting match between pro- and anti-Confederate flag activists.
He recently posted a video to his Facebook page shortly after Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez killed four people, fatally wounded a fifth, and injured two others at a Marine recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“You assholes want to play politically correct and ban a Confederate flag, saying it promotes racism and slavery. Well now how about we ban the Quran? 'Cause it promotes terrorism. How about that for political correctness?” Ritzheimer can be heard saying.
“You want to play the game, let's fucking play it. Muslims, you just fucked with the wrong fucking family. Fuck all of you! Fuck your book. Fuck your religion. Take it all and shove it up your fucking ass.”
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