Inside the Capitol rotunda, about 100 people held an event to condemn practices of the Islamic faith and claim them to be threats to American democracy. Outside the Capitol, were over 300 people protesting the anti-Muslim event. Although leaders of the event have asked the public to call it an anti-sharia law event, some have refused because participators of the event seemed to be anti-Muslim than solely anti-sharia law.
Anti-Muslim members of the anti-sharia law rally held signs that read “Islam is un-American,” and “End Muslim immigration,” while counter protestors held signs that read “Sharia law doesn’t threaten America, but your hate does. Love your neighbor.” Inside the Capitol, participants applauded the call for tighter restrictions on immigration and stood to clap when President Trump was mentioned.
The rally was organized by a group called Act for America, who have organized over 20 similar rallies across the country. Observers report that those coming out of the Capitol were wearing camouflage and helmets. The duel rally was peaceful until anti-Muslim individuals came out of the Capitol and began using hostile language and shoving Muslim tolerance individuals protesting outside the Capitol.
Neither groups were innocent in this altercation. As state troopers escorted participants of the anti-sharia law rally across the Capitol lawn, counter protestors went after them chanting and taunting them. One of the counter protesters even went to kick a member of the anti-sharia group, which then sparked a fight between the groups. Troopers then took members of the anti-sharia group into another building to avoid counter protestors.
After Troopers took them out of the building, another fight broke out that is said to have been started by counter protestors. After more troopers were called to the location, five or six people were detained and placed into squad cars. Minnesota is in no way an anti-Muslim state. The Minnesota chapter of American-Islamic Relations called for people to join the anti-hate rallies to show the country that Minnesota does not support anti-Muslim groups.
Critics of the group, Act for America, state that the group misrepresents sharia law. Sharia law is an isolated cultural practice that most Muslims do not engage in. Extremism is extremism regardless of which religion it’s under. Critics of Act for America condemn them for being against child marriages allowed by sharia law but not being against Christian child marriages, such as the 11-year-old in Florida who was forced by her church to marry the 20-year-old member of her church who raped and impregnated her. Cases like these give evidence for how Act for America isn’t an anti-sharia law group but an anti-Muslim group.
-Photo by Elizabeth Flores