Over the long weekend, headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery outside of St. Louis were vandalized—just another part of the quiet wave of anti-Semitism sweeping the nation, emboldened by the Trump administration. Now, two American Muslim activists have started a fundraising campaign to pay for the damage.
The Washington Post reports that the campaign, launched by Linda Sarsour of MPower Change and Tarek El-Messidi of CelebrateMercy, went up Tuesday afternoon and exceeded its fundraising goal of $20,000 within a couple of hours.
According to the fundraising page, the purpose of the campaign is simple: to show solidarity in the face of rampant, widespread hate, and to “send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate, desecration and violence in America.”
Hate crimes have been on the rise since the election, spurred by the anti-Semitic and Islamophobic rhetoric that emanates from the current administrations policies and actions. Speaking to the Post, El-Messidi said “This is really a human issue. But out of this horrible election cycle, something beautiful has come out of it and [Muslims and Jews have] bonded together to support each other and stand up to this hate. Politics can get in the way of our basic humanity; I hope this breaks through all those walls, no pun intended, to help bring us closer together.”
The exact cost of the damage has not been calculated, but the entirety of the $20,000 raised will go towards its repair. According to the fundraising page, any leftover funds will be used “to assist other vandalized Jewish centers nationwide.”