A large pro-Trump group described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group held rallies in nearly 30 cities across the country. They were met and generally outnumbered by counter-demonstrators in many cities.
The group Act for America insists it is not anti-Muslim, but speakers in several cities at their rallies spewed hatred toward Muslims.
“We understand what Islam is, and we say ‘no,’ ” Pawl Bazile, a member of the right-wing Proud Boys group, was quoted as saying by the Washington Post at the Act for America rally in Manhattan. “You’re in the land of Budweiser and bikinis, for God’s sake.” .
“I don’t believe in having Muslims in the United States,” said Francisco Rivera, a spokesman for Vanguard America. “Their culture is incompatible with ours.”
Despite such rhetoric, a Act for America spokesperson insists the rally was not anti-Muslim, but anti-Sharia. NPR reports sharia comes from Islamic scripture and is similar to customs in the Jewish and Christian faiths.
“I feel like we need to make a stand now, before [sharia] makes more inroads,” protester Shannon Boulogne said. “I’ve always been, you know, for women’s rights.”
Counter protestors used whistles and bull horns to drown out the Act demonstrations. In at least three cities-San Bernardino, New York and Seattle-police had to separate the two groups.
“If they’re against sharia, are you against feeding the poor? Are you against being friendly, showing love? Because essentially that is Sharia,” Asma Elhuni, of the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said.
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