ACT for America organized the marches in more than two dozen cities, saying on its website that “Sharia is incompatible with Western democracy and the freedoms it affords.” The Southern Poverty Law Center says ACT for America is the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.
Earlier in the day, the anti-Sharia group rallied at City Hall Plaza while a much larger group gatd nearby, with the two groups separated by police, he said.
The counterprotesters yelled and sounded horns to drown out the anti-Sharia group, CNN affiliate KOMO reported.
“At the conclusion of the rally the large group returned to Occidental Park,” Jamieson said in a news release.
“Officers continued to monitor the crowds and separate the opposing groups, but shortly after 12:30 a large fight broke out. Officers used pepper spray to break up the crowd. Officers arrested one woman and two men for obstructing.”
More than a dozen states have passed, or are trying to pass, laws to curb the possibility of Sharia law making its way onto the books in the US. ACT for America often promotes this legislation.
The anti-Sharia protest organizer in Seattle, Anthony Parish of Kent, told KOMO the group came out to show opposition to practices like the mutilation of young girls and honor killing – issues mentioned on the ACT for America webpage.
The counterprotest group, Seattle Stands With Our Muslim Neighbors, disagreed, saying on its Facebook page that ACT for America is “a recognized Islamophobic hate group.” The word Sharia means “The path,” or “a road that leads one to water.” It refers to a set of principles that govern the moral and religious lives of Muslims.
The March Against Sharia gained prominence a few weeks ago after two men were fatally stabbed on a Portland commuter train, allegedly by a man shouting anti-Muslim slogans at two young women, one of whom was Muslim.