SOUTHFIELD (WWJ/AP) – Muslim leaders and others are concerned about anti-Shariah, or Islamic law, marches planned across the nation this weekend.

Two will be held in Michigan: One in Southfield and another in Lansing on Saturday.

Organizing group ACT for America says the events are not about bigotry, but about protecting women and children from Sharia Law and its on Muslim women and children, including so-called “honor killings” as well as Female Genital Mutilation — the latter of which is at the center of an ongoing criminal case involving a Detroit area doctor.

“Trump supporters turned out in huge numbers in Michigan for ‘flash mobs” during the 2016 campaign.  Now we are pleased to join with ACT for America, the national sponsor, to bring some of that energy to this very important issue,” said Rosanne Ponkowski, President of Michigan Conservative Coalition.  “This March Against Sharia will be against Sharia law and for human rights.”

About two-dozen planned marches, apparently the first simultaneous anti-Sharia rallies in the U.S., come amid an uptick in anti-Muslim incidents, including arson attacks and vandalism at mosques, harassment of women wearing Muslim head-covering and bullying of Muslim school children.

The Associated Press reports a mosque in Eugene, Oregon, is tightening security after a man showed up and threatened to kill worshippers.

The incident happened days before a deadly attack on a Portland commuter train by a man police say was shouting anti-Islamic slurs.

Muslim leaders, concerned the planned marches are anti-Muslim, consider the incidents in Portland and Eugene and other recent anti-Muslim crimes in America part of an alarming trend that came to the forefront in last year’s presidential election with far-right activists portraying Islam — and all Muslims — as a threat.

“Our Muslim community is feeling a tremendous amount of stress and pressure,” said former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who plans to attend a counter-rally Saturday. “It’s important for local leaders to express solidarity and make clear we stand against bigotry, against racism and with our Muslim neighbors in the state and beyond.”

Muslim leaders hear echoes of the views of groups like ACT for America in President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on entry into the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries — a measure currently blocked by federal courts — and in his claims of dangers posed by immigrants and Muslim refugees.

Trump has said his policies are critical for protecting national security.

(The anti-Shariah marches in Michigan will be both be held from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 10, at the southeast corner of Telegraph Rd. and 12 Mile Rd. in Southfield (near the Tel-12 Mall) and at 6200 S Pennsylvania Ave. in Lansing, rain or shine).

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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