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Muslim Americans Raise Over $100,000 for Jewish Headstones Destroyed by Vandals

Broken Headstones
Broken Headstones

Muslim Americans have come together to raise money for a historic Jewish cemetery after more than 100 headstones were destroyed by vandals. 

Earlier this week, vandals knocked over, cracked, and broke 170 headstones at Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. 

The destruction comes after a recent surge in threats against the Jewish community. 

On Monday, eleven bomb threats were reported by various Jewish centers, according to the Jewish Community Center of North America.  

The White House publicly denounced the act.

"Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable," said White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters.

Ivanka Trump tweeted, "America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC"

Muslim Americans are taking the opportunity to address and condemn the string of violence by showing their support to the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery.

The campaign organized by Linda Sarsour of MPower Change and Tarek El-Messidi of CelebrateMercy has surpassed their $20,000 goal by raising more than $85,000 in the first 24 hours and $127,287 in a week. 

"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," the fundraising page on the site LaunchGood reads. "We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event."

Work has already begun to restore gravestones in the cemetery. 

El-Messidi told the Washington Post that he received a message from a woman named Barbara whose family was buried on that site.  

"You have helped to heal the pain in my heart. I live in Los Angeles but was born and raised in St. Louis. I have family buried in that cemetery and was heartbroken seeing the desecration of the final resting place of some of my loved ones," she wrote. "Your kind and loving spirit gives hope to me that we can have mutual respect and tolerance of our differences and shared humanity. Bless you."

The organizers said that any remaining funds will be used to repair vandalized Jewish centers. 


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