PHOENIX – When Jason Leger went to a rally against Islam outside Phoenix mosque, he did not imagine he would walk out as a new man with new thoughts about the religion he hates most.
“Out of respect for the Islamic people, knowing what I know now, because I have talked to them and spoke to them, no I would not do that again, just because I don’t want to offend or hurt those people,” he told Fox News.
About 200 armed bikers gathered to attend the draw Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) cartoon event outside Islamic Community Center of Phoenix that was organized by Jon Ritzheimer, an Iraq war veteran.
Called “Freedom of Speech Rally Round II“, the armed rally came in “response to the recent attack in Texas where 2 armed terrorist [sic], with ties to the so-called Islamic State (ISIL), attempted Jihad,” the bikers group said.
Earlier this month, two gunmen were shot dead by police after attacking a similar draw Muhammad event in Garland, Texas.
During the rally, Leger, who was there with his uncle, wore profanity-laced t-shirts against Islam.
Getting a chance to speak with a group of people who pray at the mosque, they invited him inside.
“When I took a second to actually sit down and listen to them, and actually enter their mosque, and go in and watch some of their prayers, it is a beautiful thing, and they answered some of the questions that I had,” he said.
Leger and his uncle have been invited back to the mosque for more discussions.
“We don’t have to like everything that is free speech in this world, but we do have to let it happen, we have to let people wear what they want, say what they want,” said Leger.
“I feel that me and a few people like my uncle Paul, and the Muslim people, taking the time to talk to each other, feel that we changed the thoughts of some people, and they changed the thoughts of me.”