'Anti-Sharia' protestors clash with counter demonstrators

Danny Woods
June 14, 2017

Earlier in the day, the anti-Sharia group rallied at City Hall Plaza while a much larger group gathered nearby, with the two groups separated by police, he said.

A far-right wing organization named ACT for America, by the Southern Poverty Law Center, on Saturday held anti-Muslim rallies in almost 30 locations across the United States; however, the demonstrators were outnumbered by counter-protesters in most of the cities.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations in May said that the number of anti-Muslim incidents surged 57 percent last year compared to the year 2015. Although the organization insists it doesn't oppose discrimination, it is clear that its protests gather together people who are opposed to Islam in principle.

"I don't believe Islam can peacefully co-exist with the Constitution", said Seattle anti-Shariah demonstrator Aaron Bassford, 29. "We need unity in this country under no ideology and no banner except the Constitution of the United States of America".

The so-called "March Against Sharia" protests were advertised as some kind of advocacy stand when they really were just a public platform to promote a prejudiced view of Islam.

About 300 people attended San Bernardino's rallies.

An anti-Muslim activist group, ACT for America, organized nationwide protests on June 10. "We're here protecting their rights, and they're trying to shut us down!"

The rallies were a big flop as they were met with thousands of counter-protesters. "The theme of today is drowning out racism", said counter-protester Tony Murphy. But such efforts have failed to stymie concerns about Sharia laws among people and Muslims have seen a rise in both hostile dialogue and attacks.

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Activists take part in the "March Against Shariah" on June 10, 2017 in New York City.

The counter-protest group, Seattle Stands With Our Muslim Neighbors, disagreed, saying on its Facebook page that ACT for America is "a recognized Islamophobic hate group".

In Saint Paul, Minnesota, a few people were detained when fights broke out at the Capitol, where dueling rallies were held.

Shariah is the Islamic religious law derived from the Quran and the traditions of the prophet Mohammed.

Chicago's protests were peaceful, although at times they grew heated. Around 75 people chanting "Racists out!" confronted about 30 demonstrators holding signs that read "Ban Shaira" and "Sharia abuses women".

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

To further understand the vile Islamophobia behind the so-called anti-Sharia law rallies, it is important to know the network of Islamohpobes behind ACT for America. But citizens across the United States have stated their fear of sharia law and several state legislatures have passed laws sponsored by ACT which explicitly ban state courts from applying worldwide or sharia law in their decisions.

ACT claims that it does not hate Muslims and disavowed a volunteer organizer in Arkansas who was affiliated with white supremacist groups.

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