It’s hard to find many positive stories in the news this week – but this one is definitely a source of hope.
A Muslim-American group raised $20,000 in just three hours after asking for donations to help repair a Jewish Cemetery that was vandalised.
An estimated 200 gravestones were damaged or defaced at the Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery in St Louis this weekend, which also saw 11 Jewish CommuCentres receive bomb threats.
The crowdsourcing campaign was posted by Linda Sarsour of MPower Change and Tarek El-Messidi of CelebrateMercy in an effort to show friendship to the Jewish community.
In their appeal they claimed: “On the heels of bomb threats and hate crimes against dozens of Jewish community center’s across the United States, a historical Jewish cemetery was vandalized this past weekend when over 170 headstones were damaged.
“Muslim Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish-American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration against the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery. We also extend our deepest condolences to all those who have been affected and to the Jewish community at large.”
After quickly reached their target in just a few hours on Wednesday, the group updated the page stating that they would still be collecting donations to the cause: “We are overjoyed to reach our goal of $20,000 in three hours.
“Please note that we are still accepting funds. Any additional funds raised in this campaign will assist other vandalized Jewish centers nationwide.”
The show of unity and friendship comes after President Trump was criticised for his slow reaction to condemning the rise of anti-semetic threats in the US.
Speaking at the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Wednesday, the president condemned the spate of bomb threats made over the last few weeks for the first time.
“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centres are horrible, and are painful – and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” Trump said.
However it wasn’t enough for The Anne Frank Centre for Mutual Respect in New York, which said the comments were “too little too late”.
Steven Goldstein, the group’s executive director, said in a statement:
“The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a bandaid on the cancer of anti-Semitism that has infected his own administration.”