So far, there are anti-Sharia marches planned for 29 USA cities on Saturday, including Austin, Chicago, New York City and Boston, according to organizers.
The demonstrations got heated when the counter-protesters crossed the street, chanting, "No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here", and "Islamaphobic fascists" near the anti-Sharia group. They organized the march claiming that Sharia goes against human rights and democracy while stating that it was done to protect women and children who had been mutilated or worse under Sharia law.
An overwhelming majority of Muslims don't want to replace USA law with Shariah, and only "radical extremist groups" would call for that, Liyakat Takim, a professor of Islamic students at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, told the Associated Press.
The Islamaphobic [sic] organization has gained significant momentum since its founding in 2007 by Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese immigrant who has openly called Islam inconsistent with U.S law. Dozens of people waved flags and held signs, joining rallies across the country for the same cause. After the residents were heated, the two rallies merged and law enforcement was called in to keep things civil.
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.
Rev. Dr. James D. Jackson, Goodwin Memorial's senior pastor, said the event was so packed they had to bring out extra chairs for people.
Hundreds of counter-protesters marched through downtown Seattle behind a large sign saying, "Seattle stands with our Muslim neighbors".
Among its initiatives has been to push for passage of state statutes and constitutional amendments - known collectively as "American Laws for American Courts" measures - that would prohibit courts from deciding cases by applying Shariah, a body of Islamic laws and practices derived from the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad.
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Molly Freiburg, 33, of Philadelphia, was one of the counter-protesters but not part of the larger group clad in black. "We will not yield to the Marxist left", said Pax Hart, who helped organize the rally, over a cacophony of cowbells and air horns meant to drown out the speeches.
Sharia law doesn't exist in the United States, but it has always been a political issue.
In St. Paul, Minnesota, state troopers arrested about a half-dozen people when scuffles broke out at the close of competing demonstrations at the state Capitol.
Takim said Sharia offers guidelines or principles on how Muslims should live. In the same lecture, she was reported to have said Muslims shouldn't be allowed to hold public office.
Police in Seattle and St. Paul, Minnesota, made arrests after fighting broke out during a series of marches across the USA on Saturday against Sharia, a strict form of Islamic law, that were confronted by counter-protests. Corina Cappabianca spoke with both sides. They disseminate lies and fallacies about Muslims to spread fear about the religion, she added.
Shpendim Nadzaku, the center's imam and resident scholar, said of the protests, "They are anti-Mulsim. And if you don't stand up for it now, who knows what you are going to be able to do in the future".
Some local chapter members of a national organization held a rally to oppose the Islamic religious law. "They understand American law differently than I do".
The Saturday rallies in Chicago occurred near a building developed by President Donald Trump.