Anti-Sharia march met with protesters in Harrisburg

The planned demonstrations prompted security fears at mosques across the country and come at a time when hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise.

There was an edge to the words of the anti-Muslim protestors, part of the national ACT for America movement, which was holding similar rallies throughout the country.

Anthony Parish of Kent, the organizer for the "Seattle March Against Sharia", told KIRO Radio's Dori Monson the rally is just "to make people aware about what's going on in the world".

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes ACT for America as the "largest grass roots anti-Muslim group in America", claiming more than 525,000 members and 1,000 chapters.

The anti-Shariah demonstrators yelled "commie scum!" and counter-protesters shouted "Nazis!" as the two sides squared off, after some of the counter-protesters crossed the street and approached the rally.

American flags fluttered in a cooling breeze on an 86-degree afternoon, and people posed for pictures in front of a 1977 Winnebago covered with Donald Trump campaign posters. If anxieties about Muslims - or even blatant prejudices about them - did not exist organically, to some degree, the ground would not be very fertile for anti-Muslim agitators of the Islamophobia industry.

"There is a lot of disrespect of rights for humans", said Brad Brewer, who supported the anti-Sharia Law protest. It said sharia justifies the oppression of women and homosexuality, and advocate female genital mutilation.

Mairaj Syed, an assistant professor of Religious Studies at University of California, Davis said Sharia law is the moral and social rules that Muslims follow based on their interpretation of the Quran.

"The constitution is the law of the land", said a protester in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. "No Sharia law that I've seen", he added. "It's all about what you should do and what you shouldn't do".

A coalition of 129 national and local organisations amplified concerns on Friday in a letter urging mayors to denounce the marches, which also coincide with Ramadan, the holy month in which Muslims fast during the daylight hours.

The rally, one of several held in more than two dozen US cities, was organized by ACT for America, which claims Islamic law is incompatible with Western democracy. Sharia is not a book of statutes or judicial precedent imposed by a government, he said. The center is the site of the deadly terror attack that killed 14 people in December 2015.

Representatives from more than 100 Bay Area civil rights and faith-based groups will answer back Saturday with a nearby demonstration at the intersection of Stevens Creek Boulevard and Santana Row in San Jose. He advised the public not to ignore the planned marches in the hopes that they will eventually stop.

Given what happened in Portland when a recent pro-Trump "free speech" demonstration devolved into violence and resulted in 14 arrests, the Seattle Police Department said that it will have "the necessary staffing and equipment available" to ensure peace is kept.

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