Fights, arrests as anti-Sharia groups clash with counterprotesters

Hundreds of protesters marched against Sharia law, a group of principles that govern the moral and religious lives of Muslims.

On the other side of the country, several dozen "anti-sharia" protesters gathered at Seattle's City Hall, according to The Associated Press.

Left-wing counter protesters turned out in force at these rallies, opposing the stand against Islamic law being applied in the US, and nowhere was it more contentious than in Seattle.

Those opposing Islam and its Shariah law in Butler County's West Chester Twp. were countered by a group of self-described anti-fascists who covered their faces with bandanas, The Journal-News reported.

(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle). Demonstrators gathered to protest against Islamic-law hoist American flags as they take part in a rally Saturday, June 10, 2017, in NY.

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.

"(I came) to show that female mutilation, honor killings and wife beatings are barbaric and should not be allowed in this country, which is what Sharia law would do", she said.

ACT for America staged rallies on Saturday in New York, Chicago, Boston, Denver and Seattle, as well as many smaller cities to denounce Muslims' law (Shariah), which the group says poses a threat to American freedoms.

Protesters in Indianapolis were on Washington Street, and organizers say the march is about fighting for human rights, rather than against Muslims. In more than 20 cities, they were met by pro-Muslim demonstrations. "They want to totally dominate women", said one protester.

More than 100 USA religious and civil liberties groups denounced the rallies as disingenuously fear-mongering, and condemned the protests in a letter to the mayors of host cities.

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

Richard Roberts with ACT! for America said the rally is not about Islam but about radical Islamic groups. Sharia law is about domination of women.

Oceanside resident Duane Siegmann, one of the marchers against Sharia law, said he joined the beachside gathering to spread word about what he saw as a growing menace. The Southern Poverty Law Center labels ACT as a hate group-an entity that attracts white supremacists and neo-nazi sympathizers. A dozen police surrounded them as counter-protesters shouted several feet away. "It's insane!" Counter-protesters banged on pots and made other noise to try to drown out the anti-Shariah rally.

"This is not an anti-Muslim event", Gavin McInnes, a co-founder of Vice Media and founder of a group called the "Proud Boys", told the rally audience.

Clusters of protesters gathered on four corners of an intersection at a memorial to the slain, less than a quarter-mile from the building where the massacre occurred.

"There may be people that bring hate to the table but we are here to counter that with peace", said Ahmad.

"When we disagree with somebody else's free speech we get to answer with free speech", said Marie.

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