Rallies against Islamic law draw counter-protests across US

Rallies against Islamic law draw counter-protests across US

Rallies against Islamic law draw counter-protests across US

The Muslim community - including here in Colorado - is planning to host several community events "to peacefully respond to these bigoted rallies by opening our doors to meet our community and recommit ourselves to diversity, acceptance, resilience, and compassion for people of all faiths and backgrounds". Authorities said everything had stayed peaceful for the most part, but three people were arrested on suspicion of smashing auto windows.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, state troopers arrested about a half-dozen people when scuffles broke out at the close of competing demonstrations at the state Capitol.

Dueling protests were held Saturday at a busy intersection in Santa Clara as anti-Sharia law activists turned out as well as those who accused the group of being anti-Muslim.

A counter-protest is also scheduled at the same location.

Meanwhile, others made their way toward Occidental Park in Pioneer Square, where police used pepper spray and made several arrests.

ACT for America activists say Islamic law is largely incompatible with American democracy and basic human rights, and they often warn of a surreptitious effort to replace us law with Sharia.

Critics say ACT for America, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, denigrates Muslims and has repeatedly equated Islam with extremism.

He said the group was not anti-Muslim. "We are standing up for human rights and against female genital mutilation and against Sharia law".

State Sen. Michael Williams, a Republican candidate for governor, spoke to the rally, according to his spokesman, Seth Weathers.

Sharia, Takim said, refers to guidelines or principles - how Muslims should live.

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, there was tension on the steps of the state capitol, where a similar number of protesters and counter-protesters faced off.

A confrontation that included shoving and punching occurred, The Star Tribune reported.

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Demonstrations were held across the nation Saturday in protest of Shariah law, but those protests were also met with counter-protests.

"There are radicals out there", an ACT for America supporter in San Bernardino, Denise Zamora, told a local television reporter.

At least one protester was arrested for attempting to cross the crosswalk, police say. But the chanting crowd outside forced Capitol security to escort some of the rally attendees from the building for their own safety. Giant letters spelling out "Trump" loomed on the high-rise over the more than 100 protesters. Just across the street, a larger and more vocal group of around 75 people chanted at them, "Racists out!"

"We're here to educate and to bridge that gap, and to let people know that the United States Constitution has more aligned with the Sharia than people might understand", said Zahir Muhammad Mannan, director of outreach for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Meriden.

In Chicago, protesters and counter-protesters shouted at each other from behind police barriers.

Counter-protesters outnumbered anti-Muslim demonstrators.

While people came and went from both groups, at noontime dozens of anti-Shariah protesters faced scores of counter-demonstrators across the street.

Participants anxious that Islamic law could influence US courts and harm women, among other concerns.

Act for America has been labeled an anti-Muslim hate group, a description the group emphatically denies. "However, we spoke on the specific aspect of Sharia that are harming people and that's what we focus on", said rally organizer Anthony Parish.

The organization ACT for America staged rallies in these locations to demonstrate against what it described as the threat of extremist interpretations of Islamic law infecting American democracy.

It had similar rallies in almost 30 cities across the country, calling them "March Against Sharia Law".

"The idea that there are Muslims in America trying to impose Shariah law is absurd".

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