A small group of anti-Muslim protesters clashed with neighbors at a North Phoenix mosque Monday afternoon.
“You got a mosque right here and you're not doing anything about it,” said controversial and self-proclaimed Christian street preacher Ruben Israel as he argued with a man who lived nearby.
Israel traveled from Los Angeles to join a handful of others for the demonstration outside of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix off the I-17 and Orangewood.
“Muslim religion is tearing down America,” said protester Aden Rusfeldt, who drove up from Tucson to be there.
“I hope when Trump gets into office he turns this wicked building into a 7-11,” said Israel from a bullhorn.
The only problem for some people was that the mosque was empty -- closed for the day. The fact that nobody was inside to hear the protest seemed to be the boiling point for some neighbors in the area.
“He’s out here protesting nothing, there's nobody here, man!” said one man.
Several people who live in the area came outside to see what was going on and told 12 News they're tired of the noise and other issues protests create in the neighborhood.
Over the past year, the community center has been at the center of a series of protests and rallies.
“I’m confident that this is not the majority of the people,” said Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center, “but there are certain people who will hate anyone who is different.”
Shami confirmed the mosque was not holding any services on Monday.
“It intimidates people, especially if there's nothing going on. I don't know what the purpose is except showing hate,” he said.
When Israel was asked the reason behind protesting a closed mosque, he told 12 News it was setting a precedent to encourage people to speak up and express their beliefs.
“We're trying to say keep it on the sidewalk, exercise free speech. It's our free speech to take their holy book and rip it like this,” Israel said as he ripped a page from the Quran. “We can do this.”
Several Phoenix Police officers were on hand at the protest to make sure nothing got out of hand.