Congressmen Want DOJ To Investigate Armed Anti-Muslim Protest In Arizona

Two Muslim congressman asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Thursday to launch an investigation into an armed anti-Muslim rally that took place recently outside a Phoenix mosque.

Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson (D-IN) asked the Justice Department to determine whether those worshipping at the mosque had their First Amendment rights violated by the protest on May 29.

“The decision to bring assault weapons to the mosque demonstrates intent to create a hostile environment to intimidate worshipers, a clear attempt to infringe on the First Amendment rights of the worshipers,” said the letter, which was published by the Huffington Post.

Ellison and Carson wrote the armed protests may have violated the Freedom of Access To Clinic Entrances Act, which, they said, prohibits “attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person lawfully exercising or seeking to exercise the First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship.”

Ellison and Carson are the only two Muslims in Congress.

The anti-Muslim rally and “draw Muhammad” cartoon contest was in support of a similar event held earlier in May in Garland, Texas. That event was attacked by two alleged Islamic State supporters. The gunmen were killed outside the event by a security guard.

CNN reported that at least one of the Texas attackers had attended the Phoenix mosque where the May 29 rally was held.

The event, held outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix and organized by anti-Muslim activist Jon Ritzheimer, drew hundreds of armed protestors, many with handguns and rifles.

Both the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Muslim Advocates wrote letters to the FBI and DOJ respectively, requesting investigations into the event, according to the Huffington Post.

The Justice Department did not respond to HuffPo’s request for comment.

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