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 group organizing the rallies, ACT for America, claims Shariah “is incompatible with Western democracy and the freedoms it affords.”
SEATTLE – Demonstrators at small but raucous gatherings around the country Saturday raised the specter that extremist interpretations of Islamic law might somehow spread across the U.S., but many of the rallies drew even more boisterous counter-protests by people who called such fears unfounded.
Hundreds of counter-protesters marched through downtown Seattle, banging drums, cymbals and cowbells behind a large sign saying “Seattle stands with our Muslim neighbors.” Participants chanted “No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here” on their way to City Hall, where dozens of anti-Shariah protesters rallied.
A phalanx of bicycle police officers kept the sides separated during the sanctioned events, but conflicts flared as the gatherings concluded. Police used tear gas to disperse rowdy demonstrators and arrested several people, including some for investigation of assault.