"Sharia is a barbaric system that the Islamic State is trying to impose in our country". The demonstrators, coming from a diverse range of organizations and communities, united to show their opposition to the anti-Muslim hate group "ACT for America" which was holding a nationally coordinated day of racist rallies.
Wielding signs proclaiming America in imminent danger from the spectre of Sharia law, spotty collections of demonstrators popped up in cities like New York, Orlando Austin and Seattle.
"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. But citizens across the United States have stated their fear of sharia law and several state legislatures have passed laws sponsored by ACT which explicitly ban state courts from applying global or sharia law in their decisions.
"We're not going to take on Sharia law in this country". These citizens cite Europe as an example, citing false claims of "no go" areas where Sharia law trumps the nation's rules. They criticized the March Against Sharia as an expression of veiled racism.
Counter-protesters stand in solidarity with Islam at Saturday's Foley Square demonstration.. 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. "Laws are amenable to change", Takim said.
ACT for America activists portray shariah as largely incompatible with American democracy and often warns of a stealth effort to replace USA law with Islamic law. "I don't trust them as far as I can throw them", said protester David Wright. "There are Muslim women like me who live in America, and I'm as western as they come".
At its peak, the anti-Sharia rally had about 50 participants.
"Each side boasted about 150-to-175 people" in a protest and counter-protest in Denver, according to The Denver Post, and law enforcement arrested four people. One person was arrested after having a confrontation with the anti-Sharia law group and Oceanside police.
"I firmly believe that whenever you see or hear Nazis or the KKK, you should come out and protest against them", she said.
The counter-protest group, Seattle Stands With Our Muslim Neighbors, disagreed, saying on its Facebook page that ACT for America is "a recognized Islamophobic hate group". And on the other side of the street, dozens of protesters wearing face masks and carrying red and black protest flags.
At times, relations between counterprotesters and Minnesota state troopers, who provide security at the Capitol, became tense.
ACT says the protest against Sharia Law is a "human rights" issue, and claims they have nothing against Muslims in general.