PORTLAND, Ore. – Although an Anti-Sharia demonstration scheduled for Portland on Saturday was moved to Seattle, local Muslim leaders were still watching.
The demonstration was met by counter-protesters outside of Seattle City Hall. Similar demonstrations and counter-protests took place in cities across the country.
"We are not anti-Muslim. We are anti-radical Islam," one anti-Sharia demonstrator said during the rally.
Harris Zafar, director of outreach for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Portland, published an op-ed in the Huffington Post Friday arguing the movement is based on a gross misinterpretation of Sharia law.
As a whole, he says, it promotes peace.
“You could cherry pick a verse, ignore the ten verses around it and make people believe that Islam calls for violence, but for sophisticated thinkers that study the entirety of the text, we understand that that's not what Islam calls for,” said Zafar.
“There are 1.8 billion Muslims. We have survived, God willing, for over 1,500 years,” said Shahriar Ahmed, president of the Balil Masjid Mosque Association.“If this religion was that weird and we were that bad, could we have survived?”
Zafar adds the Rizwan Mosque in Southwest Portland is holding open houses every Saturday this month.
The Mosque is located at 9925 SW 35th Drive in Portland. The event starts at 7:30 p.m., and all are welcome.