Anti-Shariah rally in Denver draws people from both sides

The group said it is protesting parts of Muslim law, which it said leads to abuse of women.

The rally, which is just one of 28 others planned in cities across the United States, was organized by ACT for America, a group that claims its focus is to fight terrorism and promote national security.

It could in fact be stated that Sharia law does not exist as Americans think of law, as a coded set of rulings set down by a single authority.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the country's largest Muslim advocacy group, urged Americans to participate in one of several local educational events being organised in "a peaceful challenge to Saturday's hate rallies".

Those against Sharia Law in America, ACT for America, stood across the street from the ANSWER Coalition and Indivisible Colusa while police lined up along the roadway, blocking people from walking across the street to the other side.

State Sen. Michael Williams, a Republican candidate for governor, spoke to the rally, according to his spokesman, Seth Weathers.

"It is not imposed on others; it's observed in line with the laws of the land", AbuTaleb said. Three times as many counter-protesters demonstrated outside.

Opponents of anti-Shariah demonstrations being held around the country Saturday say the events stoked unfounded fears and a distorted view of the religion.

According to Reuters, there was a heavy police presence at the Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg, as barricades and police mounted on horses separated two groups of approximately 60 protesters.

The Saturday rallies in Chicago occurred near a building developed by President Donald Trump.

Counter-protesters eventually left as about 100 Trump supporters taunted them, and the scene quieted somewhat.

Among those in the counterprotest was Mohamad AbuTaleb, the imam at the Islamic Association of Raleigh, who said the notion that Americans were under threat of Sharia law was ridiculous.

"We are deeply concerned about the type of message that these protests send to the American public and to the good people in your city - that it is acceptable to vilify people simply because of their faith", the groups wrote in their letter to 29 mayors. Some wore red hats with Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again". They were outnumbered by counter-protesters, and the two sides hurled insults across two rows of police barricades.

Sharia Law, which has seen an upsurge in implementation across Islamic communities in recent years, is the strictest form of Islamic Law.

But while there is little likelihood that Shariah would ever supplant USA law, some states have already moved to insulate themselves against the possibility.

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. Participants chanted "No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here" on their way to City Hall, where dozens of anti-Shariah protesters rallied. The group said it supports the rights of those subject to Shariah law and opposes discrimination.

The group, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls "the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America", cites honor killings, female genital mutilation and child marriages as reasons to stand up against Sharia, or Islamic law.

Takim said Sharia offers guidelines or principles on how Muslims should live.

  • Joanne Flowers