Two American Muslim activists started a fundraiser to help pay for needed repairs of Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery, a Jewish cemetery located in the St Louis suburb of University City, which was desecrated over the weekend, in which 150 headstones were toppled and damaged, The Washington Post reported.
“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 said in a statement. “We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event.”
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The page had raised more than $20,000 within a few hours.
Tarek El-Messidi, who created the campaign with fellow activist Linda Sarsour said when he saw the news about the vandalism he was reminded of a story about the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who stood up for a Jewish funeral procession. When asked why, he said, “Is it not a human soul?”
According to Washington Post, El-Messidi further said that we should bring the story of Prophet (Pbuh) to life here and show that every person deserves to rest in peace and that this is a great way to show respect to our Jewish cousins.
El-Messidi’s mission is to not only educate people about the prophet’s (Pbuh) teachings but to also rally Muslims to respond to evil with good. He said he has been communicating with the director of the cemetery who was going to send him an exact estimate of the damages, but hasn’t received one yet.
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By early Wednesday, Al jazeera reported that about US$55, 341 had been raised. The newspaper added that police had said "they did not yet know who was responsible for the vandalism."
Sarsour and Messidi said that tolerance and mutual protection was a central theme in Islam. "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," they said