About 5 p.m.the anti-Shariah group began walking through Civic Center park, surrounded by police and yelling counter-protesters. Police formed a line and erected barricades to keep the two groups separate.
Of course, when the two side stand off like opposing armies, the hostile outcome is not all that surprising. Wielding signs proclaiming America in imminent danger from the spectre of Sharia law, spotty collections of demonstrators popped up in cities like New York, Orlando Austin and Seattle. “And so understanding that most demonstrations are single voice, and sometimes require movements, that’s kind of like the ordinary demonstration”.
Several homeless people, many of whom live in the neighborhood where the rally was held, cheered as the demonstrators marched by chanting, “Muslims Are Welcome here, no hate no fear” and “When Muslim rights are under attack, what do we do?” The rally was held near the Inland Regional Center, the sight of the terrorist attack that killed 14 people on December 2, 2015.
Dueling protests were held Saturday at a busy intersection in Santa Clara as anti-Sharia law activists turned out as well as those who accused the group of being anti-Muslim.
A similar scene played out in a park near a NY courthouse, where counter-protesters sounded air-horns and banged pots and pans in an effort to silence an ACT rally.
Organizers canceled the event and urged supporters to attend the Seattle protest.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based non-profit that tracks hate groups, considers ACT an “extremist group”, according to the organization’s website.
Talks about human rights and the constitution is what led this protest with many saying Sharia law doesn’t fit with American values, while others pleading for peace no matter what religion you believe in.
Several anti-Sharia marches were planned past weekend in more than two dozen cities across the United States. And to no one’s surprise, the rally approved of President Donald Trump’s calls to impose restrictions on immigrants and refugees. “We kind of know what we need to do to ensure everyone has their constitutional rights upheld”. Neville said it wasn’t clear whether those arrested were from the March Against Sharia or the counterprotest. He said the event was “not anti-Muslim, or Anti-Islam – it is against Shariah Law”.
Saturday was the largest protests against Islam it has ever put on.
ACT for America has chapters around the country.
Corey Saylor, a spokesperson with the Council on American Islamic Relations, told Al Jazeera rallies like the National March Against Sharia contribute to “the creation of an environment in which violence [against Muslims] feels permissible”.
Legal scholars say there’s little to zero threat to US democracy from Islamic law.