'Anti-Sharia' protestors clash with counter demonstrators

Kelly Massey
June 13, 2017

Looking ahead, Muslim leaders and others are concerned about anti-Shariah, or Islamic law, marches planned for Saturday in Seattle and about two-dozen other USA cities, saying the marches are really anti-Muslim.

Protesters who gathered on Saturday to denounce Islamic law were met across the country with equally sized or larger counter-protests.

Sharia Law is a group of principles that govern the moral and religious lives of Muslims.

The group, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls "the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America", cites honor killings, female genital mutilation and child marriages as reasons to stand up against Sharia, or Islamic law.

One man providing security for protesters demonstrating against what they see as the spread of Islamic law in the United States collapsed during the event in Foley Square.

No violence was reported in New York City, where about 500 people gathered in Foley Square.

ACT for America denies being anti-Muslim, saying its enemy is the anti-western "radical Islam", though its founder Brigitte Gabriel is accused of neglecting such nuance in the past.

The civil rights legal advocacy group Southern Poverty Law Center classifies ACT as a hate-group, and the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the U.S. with a claimed membership of 280,000.

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Bill Hart a member of the Industrial Workers of the World union said he came to the Capitol because he believes Muslims in Minnesota are under attack. According to the Washington Post, the March against Sharia in New York City drew around three dozen participants, while a counter rally across the street drew a few hundred people blasting air horns and whistles. We still have our Constitution and our rights to criticize any ideology.we find objectionable. "However, many aspects of Sharia law run contrary to basic human rights and are completely incompatible with our laws and our democratic values". He said that Sharia law allows homosexuals to be killed and oppresses women as well as men.

Clashes between anti-Sharia rally goers and counter-protesters were captured on video, to include a clip where there was an exchange of punches from those in the crowd.

Sharia law does not legally exist in the United States, though some states have passed legislation preventing laws based on Islam. "Laws are amenable to change, " Takim said.

Counter-protestors stand behind barricades across the street from an anti-Islamic law protest rally Saturday, June 10, 2017, in Seattle.

There were a smaller number of counter-protesters in Richardson, many of whom have friends who worship at the Islamic center. The incident was cited by President Trump as one reason for his controversial travel restriction policy that temporarily bans refugees and immigrants from six Muslim-majority nations.

"I think it's unfortunate that people prey on misunderstandings and misgivings to make some members of our community less welcome", AbuTaleb said. They say Islamic law poses no threat to American democracy. They disseminate lies and fallacies about Muslims to spread fear about the religion, she added.

Talbot Sleater, a 62-year-old construction foreman, said that the Seattle protest was the first of the kind that he had attended.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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