The Chesed Shel Emeth graveyard in St. Louis, Missouri was hit by unidentified assailants between late Sunday night and the early hours of Monday morning, damaging 170 headstones. The hateful act of vandalism left the Jewish community feeling sad and shaken.
But, just 48 hours after reports came in about the Jewish cemetery being vandalized, an unlikely pair of Muslim American activist set up a fundraiser to help pay for the repairs.
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Muslims are raising funds for a Jewish cemetery after an attack. This is America. This is who we are. I love this. https://t.co/ex3laUPflY
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) February 22, 2017
But thanks to their efforts, and the thousands who donated to the cause, the Jewish community’s faith is slowly being restored.
The crowdfunding campaign, named “Muslims United to Repair Jewish Cemetary,” states that “Muslim Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish-American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration against the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery.”
Crowdfunding campaign started by Muslim activists raises $74,000 to repair vandalized Jewish cemetery near St. Louis https://t.co/8YYg7Ow0rR pic.twitter.com/FxUZLbVfzB
— ABC News (@ABC) February 23, 2017
So far, the two women behind the fundraising, Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi have raised over $100,000 in less than a week to pay for the damages and clean-up needed to restore the cemetery to its previous condition. Volunteers have even come out to help clean off the headstones.
Muslim fundraising drive to repair vandalized Jewish cemetery tops $100K in under 48 hours https://t.co/LP9EmmtDk7
— Judy Maltz (@MaltzJudy) February 23, 2017
This attack on the Jewish community is sadly not the only to happen in recent U.S. history.
A 2014 Federal Bureau of Investigation: Uniform Crime Reporting unit report stated that there were 1,140 victims of religious hate crimes in the United States during 2014.
“Of the 1,140 victims of anti-religious hate crimes: 56.8 percent [56.8%] were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.”
According to CNS news, that is approximately 647.52 instances where Jewish individuals, businesses or institutions were targeted.
Faithwire has reported on multiple racial and religiously motivated attacks at houses of worship in the past year.
As for now, the Jewish cemetery is receiving financial support to rebuild. President Trump has also openly condemned the anti-semitic act earlier this week, and less than 24 hours after his statement, Vice President Pence paid a visit to the desecrated grave site.
.@VP Mike Pence visits the Jewish cemetery in St. Louis where gravestones were vandalized pic.twitter.com/OJz7r6qBKG
— POLITICO (@politico) February 22, 2017
On the visit, Pence toured the cemetery and said, “I want to thank you for inspiring the nation with your love and care for this place, for the Jewish community in Missouri and I want to thank you for that inspiration and showing the world what America is really all about.”
To help support the clean-up efforts, consider donating to the launch good campaign. It is open for another 25 days, and notes, “Campaign proceeds will go directly to the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in light of the recent damage. Any remaining funds – after the cemetery is restored – will be allocated to repair any other vandalized Jewish centers.”
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