Group against Islamic law clashes with counterprotesters

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A right-wing hate group has held rallies in about 30 cities across the United States to protest against Islamic laws, but critics believe anti-Muslim hatred is behind the demonstration. Before the fight at about 12:30pm, earlier in the morning the protests started peacefully with hundreds of people rallying against the Sharia Law and hundreds more in a counter-protest rallying and marching for solidarity with our Muslim neighbors. The March against Sharia kicked off in dozens locations, including New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Orlando and other cities across the United States on Saturday. "If you become radicalized, you commit jihad", said Gregory Maximus, clad in a black bandana with white skull imprint covering the lower half of his face as he stood in line to buy snacks at a gas station. "There are Muslim women like me who live in America, and I'm as western as they come". Seattle police had to use pepper spray to break up crowds, and several people were arrested for assault. Aneelah Afzali, who heads a Seattle-area group that works against discrimination and hate crimes, said she will also be putting up an "ask a Muslim booth" so people can ask questions directly about Islam, and dispel any misconceptions. "Change is scary", she said.

The right-wing advocacy group ACT for America planned the march at Mount Trashmore in concert with several dozen similar events held around the country on Saturday, according to reports.

In Seattle, about 75 anti-Sharia protesters were outnumbered by counter-protesters at a rally that was moved from Portland, Oregon. About twice as many counter-protesters marshaled across the street.

Photo/Anthony Victoria: Anti-Sharia law protesters screaming across to counter protesters during a rally on June 10, 2017.

Opponents of anti-Muslim demonstrations said the events stoked unfounded fears and a distorted view of Islam.

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On the steps of the Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg, barricades and a heavy police presence, including officers mounted on horses, separated about 60 anti-Sharia demonstrators from an equal number of counter-protesters.

York looked across the street at the giant banner held by protesters opposing him and others.

FILE - In this Sunday, June 4, 2017 file photo, thousands of protesters gather in Portland, Ore., for competing rallies following last month's fatal stabbing of two men on a light-rail train by a man police say was shouting anti-Muslim slurs. A statement on the group's website claimed that sharia - or Islamic law - runs contrary to human rights and the US Constitution.

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

In response to Saturday's rallies, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's Los Angeles East Chapter, the largest organized Muslim community in San Bernardino County, is holding an interfaith event later in the day.