Rallies against Islamic law draw counter-protests across US

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Marches against Islamic law were planned Saturday in more than two dozen cities across the United States, but scholars and others say the protesters are stoking unfounded fears and promoting a distorted and prejudiced view of the religion.

The "March Against Sharia" protesters were inside the Capitol and the counter-protesters outside, with state troopers keeping the two groups from co-mingling.

"Any event held by this individual is not sanctioned by Act for America, and is not supported or endorsed by Act for America in any manner", the group said in a statement. This one we expect, is a demonstration that will have its own counter demonstration. VIDEO: Houston's Muslim community reacts to nationwide protestsAt the Baitus Samee Mosque in northwest Houston, worshipers and members of the community worked to put a dent in some of the misunderstanding at an open house event. The Unity Rally and Iftar (to break a fast during Ramadan) will be at 7 p.m.at the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church at 9400 Pflumm Road in Lenexa.

Oceanside resident Duane Siegmann, one of the marchers against Sharia law, said he joined the beachside gathering to spread word about what he saw as a growing menace.

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".

Police in Seattle used pepper spray and made several arrests for assault after a brief scuffle near the city's Occidental Square, according to ABC affiliate KOMO-TV.

It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the clash between protesters and counter-protesters in Seattle, and the violence appeared to subside relatively quickly.

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 anti-Shariah rally.

More than 100 people have said they would attend the March Against Sharia Denver rally.

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The group organizing the rallies, ACT for America, claims Shariah "is incompatible with Western democracy and the freedoms it affords". Muslim man, Jewish woman pray together in Manchester tribute " A lot of Muslims follow Sharia law and that's a scary thing for Americans because our rule of law is the U.S. Constitution", anti-Sharia activist Georgine Scott-Codiga said.

The demonstration was part of a set of 29 demonstrations that took place in cities across the country on Saturday, called for by the group ACT For America, which has been classified as an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Some wore masks over their faces and called the anti-Sharia demonstrators white supremacists and chanted, "Punch a Nazi".

People across the country rallied against Islamic Law on Saturday. "Fiqh" refers to jurisprudence, or specific laws. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said in May that the number of anti-Muslim incidents surged 57 percent past year compared with 2015. So does the Old Testament. "That doesn't mean we allow it today, too", Takim said. "Laws are amenable to change".

The "March Against Sharia" rallies come amid a spike in reports of anti-Muslim incidents across the United States.

On one corner, a group of about 50 counter-protesters shouted messages such as "Love, not hate".

Muslim advocates say the rallies are part of a wave of Islamophobia fueled by President Donald Trump, who called for a ban on Muslims entering the country during his election campaign.

Equally enthusiastic, however, were the considerably larger groups of opponents who showed up in each locale, to denounce the group's message of fear and hate.

"I would say I follow Sharia law in day-to-day life, and it doesn't run counter to the Constitution", she said Friday.

"When we disagree with somebody else's free speech we get to answer with free speech", said Marie. "No, Muslims are attacking other Muslims, and we're bringing in these refugees that have the same ideologies".

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