A New York-based Muslim group planning a rally to advocate for Shariah law in the U.S. is facing a wave of opposition -- including from other American Muslims.
The Sharia4America rally, organized by the Islamic Thinkers Society and headed by controversial British Imam Anjem Choudary, aims to gather Muslims and non-Muslims outside the White House Thursday afternoon to “let the tyrant Barack Obama and the American people know that a new constitution beckons the U.S. called the Shariah, and that this worldwide revolution will see it implemented inshaa’allah (God willing) very, very soon,” according to the rally's website.
Choudary, who said last year that the flag of Islam will one day fly over the White House, told Fox News that unlike other religions, Islam is not “confined to the mosque,” but rather is a way of life that includes the observance of Shariah law, which “has a solution for all affairs within society.”
Critics say the group’s radical ideas represent a very small fraction of the Muslim population and some questioned whether even Choudary will show up.
But if the Shariah4America rally does go off, it will be facing several counterdemonstrations and press conferences Thursday, including at least one from another American Muslim group, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).
The forum will be joining a counter press conference lead by the Center for Security Policy Thursday and is calling on “all people of conscience to counter these ideas and demonstrate the fact that these are the very ideas that radicalize Muslims.”
“Shariah, any time it’s enacted by man, is not God’s law. It becomes man’s instrument of oppressive theocracy in the name of Islam,” Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told FoxNews.com “ In order to be religion, you have to have a choice to accept or reject it. Otherwise, it’s not faith.”
Among other things, the Shariah4America website proposes ditching the U.S. Constitution for Shariah law, replacing the U.N. – whose sovereignty would no longer be recognized – with an International Shariah Court of Justice, converting the White House into a mosque, and terminating all treaties or promises made by previous governments to instead conduct foreign relations according to the demands of jihad.
Jasser said most Muslims disagree with those plans and need to speak up.
“Ultimately, unless we make clear theological stances against Shariah in government and make it clear that whether we’re a minority or a majority that we would not want what they’re saying, I think we basically, through silence, become complicit in the same type of movement,” Jasser said.
But Choudary, who said all plans for the rally -- including his presence there -- are still in effect, told FoxNews.com that though it was “impossible” to estimate how many people were expected to join him, the Shariah4America website was getting “a lot of very good feedback.”
He also said the recent rebellions in the Middle East show that support for the Khilafah or “Islamic State” is growing because the people there are rebelling against leaders who were “making the law up according to their own whims and desires.”
“So it’s a call to go back to the divine revelations and to implement God’s law,” Choudary said.
“As the son of Syrian immigrants that escaped oppression in the Middle East, to see our motherlands change hopefully away from dictatorship and to see these guys hijack those movements for their Islamism is, I think, very offensive; that’s not what the movements in the Middle East are about.”
Jasser added that AIFD won’t be alone in representing the Muslim community’s opposition to Shariah law Thursday.
Tawfik Hamid, Senior Fellow and Chair of Islamic Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, told FoxNews.com he’ll likely be one of many Islamic leaders joining AIFD and the Center for Security Policy at the counter press conference.
“I believe that Shariah law is a real threat to the United States; it’s a law that contains many violent principles that contradicts the basic values of human rights … you can’t accept a system that allows women to be beaten and doesn’t recognize their lives, for example,” he said.
The conference is set to be held at Lafayette Park Thursday afternoon and will include several speakers.
"It's not just CSP. There are a bunch of groups that will be out there and we're just going to talk about the conflict between Shariah and the Constitution, and the fact that the American people have a right to be concerned about it and speak out about it," Christine Brim, chief operating officer of the Center for Security Policy, told FoxNews.com.
The Dove World Outreach Center led by Pastor Terry Jones also will be hosting a counter demonstration.
Jones, famous for threatening to host “Burn a Koran Day” last September, told FoxNews.com he expects roughly a thousand people to march with him from the Lincoln Memorial to the White House Thursday and hopes "moderate" Muslims will join him, too.
“Muslims who've migrated to our country have every right to practice their religion,” he said. “We just expect them to respect, honor and obey the Constitution, too.”