United States: Protestors against Sharia Law Link Muslims to Terrorism
US media report that on Saturday, June 10, anti-sharia law demonstrations happened across the United States in which traditional Muslim practices were called a threat to US society. The protests were organized by the conservative group ACT for America, an organization that self-identifies as the "only national security grassroots foundation" in the United States. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which was created in 1971 to fulfill the goals of the American civil rights movement, considers ACT for America to be an anti-Muslim hate group.
ACT for America states on its website that “Radical Islamists use sharia law as a tool to oppress and control women. It is wholly antithetical to the ideas and values enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.” ACT for America claims their stance embodies opposition to female genital mutilation and other acts against women that they associate with Islam.
According to npr.org, “Protesters who gathered on Saturday to denounce Islamic law were met across the country with equally sized or larger counter-protests.” These counter-protesters insisted that Muslims were welcome in their communities and denounced the hate groups in the US that encourage bigotry and racism. Additionally, commentators have declared they do not believe ACT for America's claims to be concerned for women's rights are genuine, but are a pretext for bigotry.
The American news company NBC News reported that, “The ‘March Against Sharia’ was scheduled to take place in more than 20 cities, including New York, Dallas and Atlanta, and was projected to be ACT for America's largest protest against Islam.” Members of ACT for America also claim sharia law poses a threat to the U.S. Government.
The population of the USA is less than1 % Muslim, according to the Pew Research Center. Additionally, National Public Radio (npr.org) reports that “Liyakat Takim, a professor of Islamic studies at McMaster University, told the [Associated Press] that the vast majority of US Muslims oppose implementing sharia in the US.” Moreover, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States declares that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." There is, therefore, no likelihood that sharia law could ever become law in the USA.
In response to these events, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has urged Muslims to take extra safeguards against possible acts of violence that could happen in the near future. CAIR is the United States’ largest Muslim advocacy group. The New York Times reported that the group issued a report last month finding that “Anti-Muslim incidents rose 57 percent last year, including a 44 percent jump in anti-Islamic hate crimes."
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