When a group of counter-protesters gathered about 10 feet away, the anti-Sharia law rally quickly transformed into a shouting match. (Photo by Lauren Chapman/IPBS News)
A protest against traditional Islamic law drew dozens to downtown Indianapolis Saturday. Similar rallies took place in 19 states across the country, coordinated by a group called ACT for America.
Speakers warned that if Sharia law merges with the United States legal system, female genital mutilation and honor killings could become common.
But when a group of counter-protesters gathered about 10 feet away, the event quickly transformed into a shouting match.
Personal attacks made up a lot of the yelling. Both sides made threats of violence. A line of police officers separated the groups.
Local ACT for America organizer Randy Kemp says the group's message is misunderstood.
“We don’t hate anybody. What we are against is any law that overrides the United States Constitution as it reads, whether it’s an ideological law or a religious-ideological law combined,” Kemp says.
One counter-protester, named David, admits that some of the yelling was more cathartic than productive.
“A lot of people in this group didn’t expect to change too many minds today," David says. "I think a big part of it was just showing up, and making our presence known, and to just, you know, be loud.”
Kemp decided to end the rally an hour early. He says he didn’t want to put the police officers’ lives in danger.