Anti-Sharia rallies this weekend worry Muslim leaders

Drew Williams a member of the Eugene Islamic Center poses for a portrait outside the building in Eugene Ore. as locksmith Jim King upgrades the locks on the front doors. Williams said members

Drew Williams a member of the Eugene Islamic Center poses for a portrait outside the building in Eugene Ore. as locksmith Jim King upgrades the locks on the front doors. Williams said members

The Southern Poverty Law Center has declared ACT for America an anti-Muslim hate group.

The issue of "free speech" is central to this new union. America should be governed by American law. We have people who still want to have their own rallies across the country.

Al Jazeera spoke to Nathan Lean, author of The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims, about ACT for America and the prevalence of Islamophobic sentiment in the US. Islamic Center secretary Hauwa Abbas called the march "sad" and "disgusting".

Gabriel also has said that "every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim" and that Muslims are a "natural threat to civilized people of the world, particularly Western society", the letter says. We want to do the right thing for America.

The bill itself doesn't name the Sharia Law associated with Islam.

TOM GJELTEN, BYLINE: These marches are largely the brainchild of Scott Presler, a 29-year-old Republican activist now working with ACT for America. It brought people of all faiths and backgrounds together in solidarity against the fear and hatred they say the rallies are spreading. A walk to the mosque from Grace Episcopal Church and an open house is meant to counter an anti-Sharia law march in front of the federal building.

Organizers for all rallies say their events will be peaceful. Let's see what Seattle's got. And even then the solution is not to take over the law of the land. We are all on the same page.

Aasees Kaur is a resident of Atlanta and a community development fellow at the Sikh Coalition, the nation's largest Sikh American civil rights organization.

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As United Methodist pastors, we are devoted to a close and faithful reading of Christian scripture, which clearly and frequently reminds us that we are called to welcome immigrants into our midst, and as such must reject the statement about "the rise of Islamic immigration". These are not God's laws but a cultural phenomenon.

Mansoor says Sharia are guidelines that Muslims live daily life by. Sharia is this idea of what God tells us to do. Examples: Praying, fasting, Charity, pilgrimage (Hajj), caring for neighbors etc.

Two other groups in Syracuse have announced counter rallies. Examples: Divorce, inheritance, rape, theft, business or personal contracts, Marriage gift (Mahr) etc. Performance of lack of it becomes a public issue and the third party's decision is binding on both the parties and is subject to penalties and punishments. It portrays sharia, a set of Islamic principles drawn from the Qu'ran and the teachings of the prophet Mohammed, as incompatible with democracy. And so it's really a code for anti-Muslim behavior in most cases.

Yet rights groups and watchdogs, among them the SPLC and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), have criticised the marches as Islamophobic. Pulver agrees that it is a major problem in America today: There is a radicalized, extremist religious group in America that is force-ably marrying girls as young as 10 and 11 to their adult male rapists, forcing them to bear children before they graduate elementary school. As an example a Catholic who marries can not re-marry under God's law in their tradition unless the marriage itself was never recognized in the eyes of God.

He believes parts of Sharia pertain to punishments and how women are treated.

Q: Here in the United States there is this constitutional principle of separation of church and state.

More than 100 people have said they would attend the March Against Sharia Denver rally. The Muslim segment of the Center for Pluralism is committed to do that. However, a few men and women saw the opportunity to oppose Sharia that no Muslim group or institution had even requested it to be implemented. They identified themselves as fallible human beings so their answers as they were reading the Quran for example, they acknowledge that they could be wrong in their interpretation.

For example, Muslim's don't want their hands cut-off, don't want a woman having a baby out of wedlock to be buried in the ground and stoned to death. Or do we want to follow in the footsteps of bullies like Brigitte Gabriel, who thrive on stereotypes and try to drive a wedge between Americans?

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