Diverse Seattle counterprotest eclipses “March Against Sharia”

Hundreds of people joined “Seattle Stands With Our Muslim Neighbors,” a counterprotest of a march organized by ACT for America that purported to be “anti-Sharia.” (Photo by Chloe Collyer.)

Seattle’s “March Against Sharia” — one of 25 such marches scheduled around the country — was outnumbered by counterprotesters on Saturday, as they faced off in City Hall Plaza.

The counter-protest, called Seattle Stands With Our Muslim Neighbors, overpowered the message of the March Against Sharia by chanting slogans in support of Muslims and against xenophobia, and using noisemakers to drown out the “anti-Sharia” message.

The crowd was multi-faith and multi-ethnic. Faith Action Network, a Seattle group that includes leaders from many different religious groups, and numerous other political and religious groups brought signs and chanted.

Labor groups including the United Food and Commercial Workers were represented.

“I don’t want to live in a melting pot. I want to live in a salad,” said Mark McDermott of the UFCW. “Where all our cultures are held together by a dressing of love and tolerance.”

“March Against Sharia” was organized by ACT for America, a national organization that has claimed that it stands for human rights. But the group’s founder Brigitte Tudor has spread rhetoric against Muslims. People in that march carried signs criticizing Islam — some aimed at Sharia law and others aimed at the religion itself. Several people wore shirts supporting President Donald Trump and one man waved pork rind snacks at the counterprotesters.

While the face-off at City Hall Plaza was peaceful, a portion of both groups broke off and moved to Occidental Park in Pioneer Square, where Seattle Police used pepper spray to break up what it called “a large fight” between the factions. Three people were arrested, according to police.

A man creates a sign for the “Seattle Stands with Our Muslim Neighbors” counterprotest on Saturday. (Photo by Chloe Collyer.)
Volunteers at the “Ask a Muslim” booth at the “Seattle Stands with our Muslim Neighbors” rally, which countered the message of the “March Against Sharia.” (Photo by Chloe Collyer.)
People of multiple faiths and ethnicities joined “Seattle Stands with our Muslim Neighbors,” which countered the message of the “March Against Sharia.” (Photo by Chloe Collyer).
A sign at the “Seattle Stands with Our Muslim Neighbors” includes a greeting for Ramadan. (Photo by Chloe Collyer.)
Two counterprotesters join “Seattle Stands with our Muslim Neighbors,” which countered the message of the “March against Sharia.” (Photo by Chloe Collyer.)
Masked counterprotesters banged on pots and pans to drown out the “March Against Sharia.” (Photo by Chloe Collyer.)
A man addresses the “March Against Sharia” at the crowd at City Hall Plaza. (Photo by Chloe Collyer.)
A person wearing a Trump T-shirt joins the “March Against Sharia” in Seattle. (Photo by Chloe Collyer.)
A woman participates in the “March Against Sharia.” (Photo by Chloe Collyer.)
A participant in the “March Against Sharia” in Seattle waves pork rinds at the counterprotesters, who vastly outnumbered the march. (Photo by Chloe Collyer.)
The “March Against Sharia” and “Seattle Stands with Our Muslim Neighbors” face off in City Hall Plaza, separated by barricades and police.(Photo by Chloe Collyer.)