Anti-Sharia Rally Prompts Lively Protest In San Bernardino

Anti-Sharia Rally Prompts Lively Protest In San Bernardino

Anti-Sharia Rally Prompts Lively Protest In San Bernardino

Tension grew throughout the afternoon as hundreds of people clashed outside the State Capitol Saturday during the planned "March against Sharia" rally and a protest meant to counter it.

In Seattle, about 75 anti-sharia protesters were outnumbered by counter-protesters at a rally that was moved from Portland, Oregon. There were incidents of brawls between both sides, and police arrested seven people for violence. Troopers stood in a line between the two groups. "I'm not going to tell them they can come here and take away my Second Amendment right". Organizers, with an eye on the Sharia protest, said they hoped "to respond to hate with kindness and service, in the spirit of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan".

In New York, protesters attempted to drown out the chanting of the anti-Sharia march by sounding air horns and banging pots and pans.

To be clear, there is no Sharia Law in Kansas City, nor is there any movement to implement it. Barricades and a heavy police presence, including officers mounted on horses, separated about 60 anti-Sharia demonstrators from an equal number of counter-protesters, many dressed in black masks and hoods and chanting "No Trump, no KKK, no Fascist USA".

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The demonstration was met by counter-protesters outside of Seattle City Hall. "It's unbelievable to see so many people come out in the name of unity as opposed to standing against one religious tradition", Spojmie Nasiri with the Council on Islamic American Relations said.

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".

Raymond Santos, 55, said he was not personally associated with ACT, but supports the Anti-Shariah Law cause.

ACT for America, the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the US, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, organized similar rallies across the country.

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But the overwhelming majority of Muslims don't want to replace USA law with Islamic law, known as Sharia, and only "radical extremist groups" would call for that, said Liyakat Takim, a professor of Islamic studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

The group Act for America organized the march in Waterbury.

Protesters who say they oppose Islamic law and counter-protesters shouted at each other from behind police barriers in Chicago in one of several such protests nationwide. It's not entirely clear how a blatantly illegal act that devastated a community and was condemned by almost everybody is a sign that USA law is coming under control of Muslims. It refers to a set of principles that govern the moral and religious lives of Muslims. "If they don't like it they can go back to their countries and deal with it there", he said. In Milwaukee, one Muslim community isn't taking to the streets - instead, they're opening their doors.

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