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The New Arab

Muslim Americans fundraise to help repair vandalised Jewish cemetery

No arrests were made in relation to the attacks [Twitter]

Date of publication: 22 February, 2017

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Two Muslim US activists launched a crowd funding campaign on Tuesday to raise money to help repair a historic Jewish cemetery that was vandalised over the weekend.
Two American Muslims began a crowd funding campaign on Tuesday, to raise money and help repair a Jewish cemetery that was vandalised over the weekend.

Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi condemned the attack on the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in suburban St Louis, Missouri, where more than 100 headstones were damaged late on Sunday.

The campaigners called the attack a "horrific act of desecration" on a "sacred space where Jewish-American families have laid their loved ones to rest", adding that they were extending a helping hand to rebuild the cemetery.

Their efforts were welcomed by the Muslim community in America as Sarsour and El-Messidi reported that the campaign surpassed the initial target of $20,000 within just a few hours.

"We are overjoyed to reach our goal of $20,000 in three hours. Any additional funds raised in this campaign will assist other vandalised Jewish centres nationwide," their crowd funding page said.

"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."

No arrests were made in relation to the attacks and investigators have not yet determined whether it was a hate crime or vandalism.

Police said investigators were looking at surveillance camera footage to help identify those behind the attacks.

Politicians and other religious leaders expressed support for the cemetery and the St. Louis region's Jewish community.

Meanwhile, two Muslim organisations, the Islamic Society of North America and the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, both spoke out against the vandalism.

"We encourage our members to reach out to their local synagogue and Jewish neighbours to express their solidarity and support and to generously support the rebuilding of the recently desecrated cemetery," ISNA President Azhar Azeez said in a statement.

Since the election of President Donald Trump in November 2016, the US has seen a surge in both hate crimes and bomb threats against dozens of Jewish communities and other minority groups.

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