In February, hundreds of Jewish tombs were vandalized in the United States by unidentified criminals. According to reports, over 150 headstones were damaged at a historic Jewish cemetery in the city of St. Louis, Missouri.
Some days after the St. Louis incident, it was reported again that over 500 graves were desecrated at a Jewish cemetery in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These attacks were described as a hate crime.
Apart from vandalizing the cemeteries, there were reports of bomb threats at Jewish community centers in some parts of the United States. This clearly showed that the US Jewish community was deliberately targeted by the unidentified criminals who are hating people for no reason other than to hate.
US-based religious minorities haven’t had it easy in recent times. Both Muslims and Jews are increasingly being targeted by right-wing extremists in the country, such as the Ku Klux Klan. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jews and Muslims together account for the vast majority of religiously motivated hate crimes in the United States. In 2015, it was estimated that 51% of hate crimes were committed against Jews, while 22% were against Muslims.
However, since Donald Trump came to the political limelight — from his campaign to winning the presidency — hate crimes against religious minorities in the United States have surged. The majority of these recent crimes are being committed against Muslims.
This is the first major hate crime against the Jews since Trump secured the presidency. Trump himself has condemned the attacks, promising to protect all Americans regardless of their religious beliefs. Other religious groups and human rights campaigners have also condemned the attacks.
However, a group of Muslim activists have gone beyond just a mere condemnation to taking on a laudable initiative. Despite the disagreement between the Muslims and the Jews regarding Palestine, two Muslim activists have led a crowdfunding campaign to rebuild the tombs vandalized at the Jewish cemeteries.
The activists, Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi, have so far been able to raise over $160,000 from the crowdfunding project for repair works to be carried out on the destroyed tombs. Linda is a Palestinian-American-Muslim born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She works as a racial justice and civil rights activist.
The initial campaign target was to raise only $20,000 to take care of the St. Louis tombs. But the campaign went viral after many people realized the love and compassion Linda and her colleague demonstrated.
On the crowdfunding page, the fundraisers condemned the attacks, expressing their deepest condolences to the Jewish community.
DONATE WHAT YOU CAN. Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemetery! https://t.co/HVWIvpZtCR
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) February 21, 2017
“Through this campaign, we hope 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,” Linda and El-Messidi said.
Linda and El-Messidi have been hailed as ambassadors of peace by human rights campaigners. Despite the fact that Israelis are oppressing Palestinians, denying them their rights to live in the independent country, these two activists have responded in the opposite manner. Instead of allowing hate to cloud their judgment and action, they allowed love to reign. This is exactly how humans should live among one another.