Donald Trump supporters traveled hundreds of miles to protest an empty Phoenix mosque, much to the irritation of its neighbors.
Ruben Israel, a self-proclaimed Christian street preacher who hates the King James Bible, Catholics and Mormons, came to Arizona from Los Angeles to shout complaints through a bullhorn and argue with residents of nearby homes, reported KPNX-TV.
“You got a mosque right here and you’re not doing anything about it,” Israel shouted at one neighbor. “I hope when Trump gets into office he turns this wicked building into a 7-Eleven.”
Another protester, who drove to Phoenix from Tucson, complained about the influence of the nation’s roughly 3.3 million Muslims who make up about 1 percent of the U.S. population.
“Muslim religion is tearing down America,” said Aden Rusfeldt, a self-employed entrepreneur who promotes a “politically incorrect business and marketing webinar” online.
The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, which was closed on Monday, has been targeted multiple times in the past by anti-Muslim demonstrators including protests organized by militia member and Marine veteran Jon Ritzheimer, who is awaiting trial on a variety of federal charges for his role in the armed occupation of an Oregon nature preserve.
Neighbors said they’re tired of protesters screaming about Muslims outside the mosque, which was empty during the latest demonstration.
“He’s out here protesting nothing,” said one man, watching Israel bellow through a bullhorn. “There’s nobody here, man!”
Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center, said he and other Muslims understood that the protesters represented a minority of Americans, but he said their message of “hate” was clearly intended to intimidate worshipers.
But Israel, who often takes part in anti-LGBT protests, said the demonstration was simply a peaceful free speech rally.
“We’re trying to say keep it on the sidewalk, exercise free speech,” Israel said. “It’s our free speech to take their holy book and rip it like this.”
Israel ripped a page from the Quran, and said, “We can do this.”