Group protesting Sharia clashes with counter-protesters in cities across the country

The Southern Poverty Law Center says ACT for America is the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.

In a display of the nation's current political strife, three groups gathered at the intersection of Roseville Parkway and Galleria Boulevard Saturday to protest for and against the "March Against Sharia". "We were marching, they ran up to us...they came out and attacked us". Lahring, a grandmother of 10, said she was there not to protest immigrants or Muslims, but to voice a concern that the country's laws and Constitution need to be protected.

The Threat of Sharia Law?

Ruben Torres, 27, of Corona said he saw news about the event on Facebook and made a decision to join in Saturday's protest.

"One of the points of true Islam is empowerment and equality of women", said Mannan. While she was leading the rally outside the federal building here in Syracuse, Lisa Joseph described President Trump as the country's savior.

Schildmeier claimed that Sharia law allows atrocities such as the marriage of 9-year-old girls, the stoning of women, beheadings and the killing of gays by throwing them from roofs.

The state patrol says the march inside the Capitol Rotunda was kept separate from the counter-demonstration outside, but a "brief exchange" between the two groups outside led to the arrests. Although they tried to shout him down at times from disparaging Islam and Shariah law, he welcomed the rift of opinions.

Raymond Santos, 55, said he was not personally associated with ACT, but supports the Anti-Shariah Law cause.

"Shariah law is kind of making its way into countries", Stephanie Eitel Rosemount, an organizer with ACT for America, said.

"As a white male with privilege, I'm not risking a whole lot as the Muslim community would be risking their life and livelihood as we have seen in Portland", said Adler.

The opposing groups varied in their numbers throughout Saturday afternoon.

"There are radicals out there", an ACT for America supporter in San Bernardino, Denise Zamora, told a local television reporter. But numerous rallies drew even more raucous counter-protests by people who called such fears unfounded. One person was arrested after having a confrontation with the anti-Sharia law group and Oceanside police. In Milwaukee, one Muslim community isn't taking to the streets - instead, they're opening their doors.

"It's deeply [offensive] that people are saying U.S. in the name of Muslims, very hurtful", said community activist Fahd Syed. Participants of the counter-protest chanted "No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here" while on their way to the City Hall.

In New York, protesters attempted to drown out the chanting of the anti-Sharia march by sounding air horns and banging pots and pans. "Shame! Shame!" and assured the city's small Muslim population that they were welcome.

  • Joanne Flowers