BERLIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Rallies against Sharia law, or Islamic law, will be held in cities around the country on Saturday. One will be held in Waterbury. On Friday night an interfaith gathering was held at a mosque in Berlin. It brought people of all faiths and backgrounds together in solidarity against the fear and hatred they say the rallies are spreading.
The group Act for America is holding the nearly 30 rallies across the country, calling them “March Against Sharia Law.” The group says that’s allowed for women to be treated badly within the Muslim community. However, some people believe Act for America is a hate group, and they have been speaking out against the rallies.
The interfaith gathering in Berlin started with a prayer. Reza Mansoor, president of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, helped organize it.
“There’s nothing incompatible about American law and Islamic law,” Mansoor said. “I think that needs to be clarified because a lot of fear is spread through ignorance.”
Mansoor says Sharia are guidelines that Muslims live daily life by. He was one of many people who spoke out against the rallies at the gathering. Governor Dannel Malloy also spoke, condemning the march in Waterbury.
“These are the same individuals that, in the name of their own religion, would criticize another religion,” Malloy said.
Meanwhile, the City of Waterbury has been preparing for the march. Police will be on the streets keeping everyone safe.
“The management of all organizations have been in contact with us and everyone has been very forthright,” said Deputy Chief Fernando Spagnolo of the Waterbury Police Department. “We’ve had some very candid conversations.”
“We’re very professional here and we’re going to hope everyone treats each other with respect,” said Neil O’Leary, Mayor of Waterbury.
Respect is what many at the interfaith gathering are hoping for as well. They want to encourage love and counter hate.
“We should stand up against anybody who denigrates any faithful community, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Mansoor said.
Local Muslims are planning on having a counter protest to the Act for America rally in Waterbury.