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Seattle's 'March Against Sharia' set for City Hall Plaza

In Seattle they've planned the rally for 10:00 a.m. Saturday at City Hall Plaza. And there has been one death, though not due to violence: one March Against Sharia participant in NY suffered a heart attack during the event.

Across Centre Street, several hundred protesters - branding themselves as anti-fascist - brought out cowbells, drums and air horns in an attempt to stop the anti-Muslim side from being heard.

The Seattle Police Department said on Friday that officers will be ready for whatever happens during a pair of city-permitted protests planned for Saturday morning. Almost dozen men carrying sidearms belonging to the anti-government Oath Keepers were on hand, invited by ACT to provide security. A lot of them carried handguns. "Not in my community", Adler said as the crowd cheered.

"I don't believe Islam can peacefully co-exist with the Constitution", said Seattle anti-Shariah demonstrator Aaron Bassford, 29. The scientists then multiplied those numbers by the number of women born in that country or who had a parent born in that country.

Al Jazeera spoke to Nathan Lean, author of The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims, about ACT for America and the prevalence of Islamophobic sentiment in the US.

"It is both appalling and scary and frightening to think we're going back to 1930's Germany with fascism and hatred", she said.

But critics warn Gabriel's march is not patriotism but Islam-a-phobia.

American Muslim groups and their supporters say such statements are based on a gross and prejudiced misunderstanding of what sharia is and how it is manifested in different cultures.

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Anti-Muslim protesters marching in Lower Manhattan Saturday were met by a larger group of counter-protesters who drowned them out with chants of their own. "This manifestation at the Capitol is actually a way to make our Muslim neighbours feel uncomfortable".

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler recently askedthe federal government to deny permits for the March Against Sharia scheduled in Portland, citing concerns over rising tensions that he attributes to the recent attack against Muslims on a light rail train that ended with the stabbing of two men, and hate speech against Muslims in Oregon. The victims were trying to protect two teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab, as the man shouted anti-Islamic slurs.

Talbot Sleater, a 62-year-old construction foreman, said that the Seattle protest was the first of the kind that he had attended. One read, "Refugees welcome Racists go home". "I don't want that to happen here".

A wave of anti-Muslim rallies will sweep almost 30 cities across America on Saturday, in a move by far-right activists that has drawn sharp criticism from civil rights groups and inspired counter-protests nationwide.

It also warned Muslims to take extra precautions against potential violence over the weekend.

The protests come in the middle of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a time of spirituality, contemplation and celebration for Muslims.

Militant "anti-fascist" or "antifa" groups, however, had meanwhile promised to show up at anti-Sharia rallies to confront the marchers, and right-wing paramilitary groups such as the Three Percenters, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers were arranging to provide security at the rallies, setting the stage for violent confrontations.

"This sounds", he said, "like a rally against unicorns".

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