Anti-Sharia, pro-Muslim groups clash in mostly peaceful Seattle protests

New York. Marches against Islamic law were planned Saturday in more than two dozen cities across the United States but scholars and others say the pro

Hundreds to attend protests in downtown Seattle

The same basic scene was repeated in other cities throughout the country Saturday, with most confrontations happening as the protests ended.

In Seattle, police used pepper spray to break up fights in Occidental Park, police spokesman Mark Jamieson said.

Demonstrators dispersed after about two hours, with police escorting Trump loyalists across the river while counter protesters chanted "hey hey, goodbye".

Sharia law is about domination of women. She was looking at a group of counter-protesters gathered at the sidewalk skirting Broadway. "The theme of today is drowning out racism", said NY counter-protester Tony Murphy, standing next to demonstrators with colorful earplugs. But such efforts have failed to stymie concerns about Sharia laws among people and Muslims have seen a rise in both hostile dialogue and attacks. The organization said it opposes discrimination and supports the rights of those subject to Sharia.

Liberals denounced the rallies as being "anti-Muslim", but ACT for America said that it is "proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with peaceful Western Muslims as well as peaceful Muslims worldwide", according to the Daily Mail.

"I don't think Muslims are here to impose Sharia law on anybody".

"Their beliefs do not abide by the Constitution of the United States, so our job today is to educate people to make them understand", he said.

Sharia law is a group of Islamic principles that govern the moral and religious lives of its followers. "Fiqh" refers to jurisprudence, or specific laws.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations in May said that the number of anti-Muslim incidents surged 57 percent last year compared to the year 2015.

"The Quran allows slavery, so does the Old Testament. Really if anything, we're at risk of fascism being imposed on America", said Raphael Kadaris, speaking for a group called Refuse Fascism. "Laws are amenable to change".

"We're here to educate and to bridge that gap, and to let people know that the United States Constitution has more aligned with the Sharia than people might understand", said Zahir Muhammad Mannan, director of outreach for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Meriden.

But it was noisy, with groups chanting, yelling and waving American flags and posters proclaiming various issues.

The March Against Sharia was scheduled for this weekend in part to commemorate the June 12, 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, which left 50 people dead.

Refuse Fascism, a coalition of activists advocating confrontational tactics to oppose what it calls the Trump "regime", said it would show up at the rallies "to counter the xenophobic hatred and lies, defy intimidation and drown it out".

"There are so many messages going on that I'm not sure who's who", Hards added.

She describes herself as a Jewish woman who believes that Muslim Sharia practices could be a real threat to American society, though, she couldn't point to any examples of it actually being implemented in the country right now. She added, of Shariah: "It's coming in very slowly, and a lot of the refugees are bringing that ideology here". "All of it is just barbaric".

In Syracuse, N.Y., "March Against Sharia" organizer Lisa Joseph told North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann that she put the rally together because she and others are "against female genital mutilation, honor killings, throwing gays off of buildings, stoning people to death".

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