2 arrested at anti-Sharia law event in Virginia Beach

Alvin Kelly
June 12, 2017

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".

The group was split into two factions.

Those who led the counter-protest, which included about 60 people, said the anti-Sharia protesters demonized Islam and created unnecessary fears about the religion.

Hundreds of counter-protesters marched through downtown Seattle, banging drums, cymbals and cowbells behind a large sign saying "Seattle stands with our Muslim neighbors". "Stand up, fight back".

A pro-Muslim supporter (L) argues with a demonstrator with the "March Against Sharia" protest in Chicago, Illinois on June 10, 2017.

And as they shouted warnings against the supposed dangers of Muslim religious codes - which are practiced privately by a tiny fraction of the US population - the demonstrators were drowned out by a much larger group of counterprotesters who mocked and harangued them for hours on Saturday. Marches against Islamic law were planned Saturday in more than two dozen cities acro.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has called Act for America an anti-Muslim hate group and recognized that its protests were attracting anti-government and far-right extremists.

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Anti-Shariah protesters said their demonstration in Santa Clara and San Jose Saturday was organized in response to what they consider to be an existential threat to American democracy.

"They hate America. They're anti-American and they pretend like they're not, but they are anti-American". A verbal dispute between protesters on opposing sides almost turned physical when a protester lunged toward a counter-protester before being stopped by police. Police had managed to keep the groups apart until that occurred. "The more racists get a platform, the more people get attacked". The flag was the flag of Kekistan, a fictional right-wing country born from Internet gaming culture. The organization describes itself as "the NRA of national security".

"Sharia law doesn't belong here in America". In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a group that has claimed credit for white nationalist posters on college campuses said they wanted Muslims out of the United States entirely.

The group's founder, Brigitte Gabriel, has said that she is anti-Sharia, not anti-Muslim, a point that a number of the group's speakers repeated Saturday.

In a somewhat confusing video advertising the Austin protest, Morris said she had been visited by Iranian students as a child. She said she was pleased that more people supported the counter-protest than the protest.

"If they're so against sharia law, that means they're against me giving charity, they're against me praying, they're against me dealing justly in financial transactions, they're against me dividing and distributing inheritance, they're against me taking care of the orphaned, and they're against me fasting during the month of Ramadan", said Mustafa.

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