Rallies against Islamic law draw counter-protests across US

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ACT for America was sponsoring the March Against Sharia Law in more than a dozen cities across the country, including New York, Austin, Chicago, and Seattle.

(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle). Demonstrators gathered to protest against Islamic law take part in a rally Saturday, June 10, 2017, in NY.

When the group's supporters took to the streets on Saturday, they found they were hugely outnumbered by counter-protesters in several cities.

Demonstrators at today's march say they aren't anti-Muslim, but they are against a religious law that they say goes against basic human rights.

A lawyer and spokesman for the Richardson Islamic centre in Dallas, Khalid Hamideh, said the notion that Muslims sought to impose Shariah law on America was "absolute nonsense".

Counter-demonstrators holding "We Stand with Our Muslim Neighbors" signs use noisemakers to "drown out" anti-Sharia protesters in Seattle.

The marches were planned by ACT for America, the self-described "NRA of national security". Dozens of people waved flags and held signs, joining rallies across the country for the same cause.

To the group's critics, Clark said she loves Muslims and her best friend has a Muslim child.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the group is classified as a hate group that promotes an anti-Muslim agenda but members of the group say the goal is to send a strong message about human rights.

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Still, Denver resident Stephanie Potts said most Americans need an education on the contradictions between Shariah and American law.

Among those in the counterprotest was Mohamad AbuTaleb, the imam at the Islamic Association of Raleigh, who said the notion that Americans were under threat of Sharia law was ridiculous. Protesters at the western steps of the State Capital claimed Shariah calls for the abuse of women and has no place in America.

Just after 2 p.m., only a handful of anti-Sharia ralliers remained, as the counter-protesters, still at least one hundred strong, began marching south.

An imam stood with the mayor, the Observer reported, and tried to assure anyone anxious about sharia law being forced on the United States. Police used tear gas to disperse rowdy demonstrators and arrested several people, including some for investigation of assault. The Los Angeles Times cited legal experts who said there's no legal way to implement Sharia law - or other foreign criminal or civil codes - in the United States, and to do so would be a violation of the separation of church and state. "There are so many messages going on that I'm not sure who's who". The "March Against Sharia" was met by counter protesters across the country.

The Act for America group, labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, organized almost two dozen rallies Saturday called "March Against Sharia".

Morris said Muslims were welcomed in the United States.

Jodeh said local Muslims took the high road by avoiding the protest. Some have blamed Trump's harsh rhetoric on Islam for the uptick in anti-Muslim activity, arguing that the president has normalized such behavior.

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

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