LANSING — Around 100 people gathered in south Lansing and about 200 rallied in Southfield on Saturday morning as part of the national protest planned by ACT for America called the “March Against Sharia.” However, not all in attendance came for that reason.
In Lansing, police placed a partition between two groups of protesters as they stood on the 6200 block of South Pennsylvania Avenue, south of Miller Road, and held various signs, waved flags and chanted.
“No hate. No fear. Muslims are welcome here,” repeated the counter protesters, who according to the Lansing Journal, outnumbered those rallying in support of the movement.
A little more than 20 people marched to oppose Sharia law, many of whom were dressed in military looking uniforms and carrying weapons.
Shawn Lahring, a grandmother of 10, told the media outlet that she was not there to protest immigrants or Muslims, but to stress the need to protect the country’s laws and the Constitution.
In Southfield, anti-sharia protesters stood on Telegraph Road south of 12 Mile carrying posters that read “Sterling Heights Says Stop Sharia” and “Honor Kill No”, while playing patriotic songs like “Yankee Doodle” and “You’re A Grand Old Flag.”
Cecelia Russell, 72, carried a poster that read “No Sharia Law in the USA”, telling The Detroit News that she had come from West Bloomfield because “This is our country. If we don’t stop it, sharia law will take over.”
Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver had stated before the event had taken place that he couldn’t understand either the reason for the rally to begin with or the need to hold it in Southfield, since the majority of the city’s Middle Eastern immigrants are Iraqi Christians. Also, he said he hadn’t seen any sharia law incursions.
Later in the day, an event called “Wash Away the Hate in Michigan”, organized by the Islamic Society of Greater Lansing and numerous other groups, was held at the state Capitol Building in downtown Lansing.
Malak Aldasouqi, a Michigan State University student and East Lansing native, told the crowd that their solidarity is heartening.
“After all the hate, the bigotry and the slander, we always get this support,” she said at the Capitol stairway.
In a symbolic motion, the group washed the steps and the adjoining area from the morning hate rally with water and mops.
ACT for America organized around two dozen rallies against Sharia law across the country that day. The Southern Poverty Law Center categorizes it as a hate group, in fact “the largest anti-Muslim group in the country.”