In a demonstration of solidarity, an online donation drive by Muslim Americans to help repair a vandalised Jewish cemetery has raised more than USD 55,000 - almost three times its target.
Muslim activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi created a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St Louis, Missouri where at least 170 headstones were damaged over the weekend.
“There was nothing to indicate it was any type of hate crime,” police said, adding that they were keeping options open to the possibility it could be one.
The campaign, which calls for “solidarity with the Jewish-American community”, aims to help “rebuild this sacred space”, The San Diego Union Tribune reported.
The campaign has received nearly 2,000 donations and has raised over USD 55,000, the paper said, adding that the target of USD 20,000 was reached within three hours but will continue collecting money.
“Muslim Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish- American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration” against the cemetery,” says the fundraising page.
“We also extend our deepest condolences to all those who have been affected and to the Jewish community at large,” it states.
The campaigners said that any additional funds beyond the USD 20,000 goal would be used to “assist other vandalised Jewish centres nationwide”.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations both have condemned the vandalism.
“We encourage our members to reach out to their local synagogue and Jewish neighbours to express their solidarity and support and to generously support the rebuilding of the recently desecrated cemetery,” ISNA President Azhar Azeez said in a statement.
On Monday, 11 Jewish community centres across the US, including in the Houston, Chicago and Milwaukee areas, reported receiving hoax bomb threats. Last week, 27 Jewish facilities in at least 17 US states received similar threats.
US President Donald Trump yesterday decried anti-semitic threats targeting Jewish community as “horrible” and “painful”, saying that there is need to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms.