Anti-sharia and anti-fascist demonstrators face off at site of San Bernardino terrorist attack
Anti-Sharia and anti-fascist demonstrators debate at site of San Bernardino terror attacks
Small crowds of anti-sharia and anti-fascist demonstrators faced off Saturday at the site of the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist massacre.
The two groups, totaling no more than 100, gathered near the Inland Regional Center, a nonprofit that serves people with developmental disabilities, where a Pakistani American couple fatally shot 14 people nearly two years ago.
Counter-demonstrators carrying anti-fascist banners arrived first, taking up positions along Waterman Avenue and Orange Show Road. A leader said they had learned on social media that the anti-sharia group Act for America had planned a gathering.
Demonstrators waving American flags and Donald Trump banners showed up around 11 a.m. and took up positions across the street.
A few members of each group carrying cameras to record the encounter came face-to-face on the sidewalk and exchanged excited words. A police officer warned that he would intervene if he saw any sign of a violent escalation.
The messages of the two groups were not totally clear.
The Rev. Felicia Parazaider, who described herself as an interfaith minister, said she was representing Revolution for Love.
She said she came out to “show that the violence that’s been happening in the country and how this hate has been emboldened by the administration is not going to win. Love is what’s left standing in the wind at the end of the day.”
Denise Zamora said she organized the demonstration to show remembrance for the 14 victims of the Dec. 2, 2015, attack.
“Today we are just standing out here and representing America and saying we don’t want Sharia in America,” Zamora said.
She said she was not representing Act for America and accused opponents of falsely characterizing them as white supremacists, “which we are not.”
Sharia encompasses a set of moral principles and general religious law that can influence the legal systems of Muslim-majority countries.
A similar demonstration in June in San Bernardino ended in a scuffle as anti-sharia protesters smashed in the rear window of one vehicle as the driver pulled away, then hit a second as it drove off. Three pro-Trump demonstrators were arrested on suspicion of vandalism after the fight.
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