Anti-Shariah rallies were slated for Saturday in over 24 cities across the U.S., but others think the rally is based on unjustifiable claims and projects a bias and misconstrued idea of the religion.

The group staging the protest, ACT for America, believes Shariah contradicts Western culture and the freedom it brings.

But Liyakat Takim, an Islamic professor at McMaster University, has an opposite view. He said Muslims are not looking to exchange U.S. law with Islamic laws, known as Sharia, and only “radical extremist groups” would want that.

Shariah versus Fiqh

He said Sharia refers to instructions or directions on how Muslims should pattern their lives. “Fiqh” refers to laws or rules he explained. He said the values contained in Sharia is not open for debate and are universal to all Muslims, while Fiqh is debatable and Subject To Change, and is interpreted differently among Islamic sects.

Takim said Muslims are not expected to force their beliefs on countries in which they are foreigners or minority, adding that there hasn’t been a consensus that the laws must be strictly adhered to in all places.

He cited the fact that both the Quran and the Old Testament permitted slavery but it is not encouraged in today’s world thereby buttressing his point that laws are subject to change.

Marginalized Muslims speak out

The protests arise in the wake of anti-Muslim incidents in the U.S., including destruction and vandalism of mosques, verbal and racial abuse of women wearing Muslim hijabs, and intimidation of Muslim schoolchildren.

Although there is a very slim chance of Sharia overriding U.S. law, some states are putting protective measures in place to prevent such occurrence.

According to the National Conference of State Legislature, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Kansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arizona, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama have passed laws forbidding the use of foreign laws in state courts.

In Idaho, a Republican earlier this year proposed a scheme targeted at preventing the application of Shariah law, though it has never been applied before in Idaho.

Counter-protesters plan to stage a demonstration on Saturday, calling the event anti-Muslim.

Michigan Democrat, Rep. Debbie Dingell, who claims to have the largest population of Muslims in her district, said the rally will be a failure because they are prepared to handle them.