Muslim-Led Crowdfunding Campaign Triples Goal to Restore Vandalized Jewish Cemetery

In a bit of heartening news after so much Trumpean darkness, a Muslim-led crowdfunding campaign to restore a vandalized Jewish cemetery near St. Louis where over 150 headstones were knocked over tripled its goal in just three days, reports Haaretz.

You can see the damage done in this report by NBC’s affiliate KSDK News in St. Louis:

According to Haaretz:

Over the weekend, more than 100 headstones were damaged at the historic Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery near St. Louis. The incident coincided with another wave of bomb threats against Jewish community centers across the United States.
 
The crowd-funding campaign, launched by [Tarek] El-Messidi and [Linda] Sarsour, had set $20,000 as its goal. Within less than a day, it has already raised close to three times that sum from almost 2,000 donors. Any additional funding raised beyond the $20,000, before the campaign ends on March 21, will be used to finance repairs at other Jewish centers that have been vandalized during the recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks.

The United States has seen an alarming rise in anti-Semitism and has a president who refuses to address the issue without talking about his electoral win. He has been widely condemned for his tepid response.

The Anne Frank Center called his words Tuesday “a Band-Aid on the cancer of anti-Semitism that has infected his own Administration.”

To say Trump addressed the problem of anti-Semitism would be an overstatement. Given his level of support from anti-Semitists and his employment of anti-Semite Steve Bannon as his chief advisor, he would find it difficult to denounce this frightening trend.

El-Messidi founding director of Muslim non-profit CelebrateMercy told Haaretz about one message he received in response to his efforts:

“I knew we Jews needed to stand with Muslims. I never thought we’d need you to stand with us. Bless you all. We’ll stand together to get through the darkness.”

Indeed. We must all stand together in the face of the rampant and reckless hate unleashed by the Trump administration and the anti-Semite at is beating heart, Steve Bannon.

Trump claims he is the least anti-Semitic person in the world, but his every action (or inaction) belies that claim.

The Muslim response, and that of the community itself, to this latest Trump-inspired anti-Semitic attack shows that the American people are not without the power to denounce hate and to respond to Trump in the most visible and self-affirming way possible.

Photo: Screengrab from KSDK News St. Louis