American anti-Semitism: US Muslims raise $50000 to fix vandalised Jewish cemetery headstones

Missouri's Jewish governor, Eric Greitens, invoked the Torah-based Hebrew concept of "tikkun olam", or "fixing the world", in a call for volunteers to help fix dozens of vandalized headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St. Louis on Wednesday.

Sarsour and El-Messidi wrote earlier that "the Muslim-American community extends our hands to help rebuild this sacred space where Jewish-American families have laid their loved ones to rest since the late 1800's".

Almost 200 gravestones were found toppled over Monday at the historic Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, where some Holocaust survivors have been buried.

Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery Executive Director Anita Feigenbaum told The New York Times that between 170 and 200 headstones were toppled, with some being broken and damaged.

The attack comes after figures released by the JCC Association of North America, a Jewish community umbrella group, showed that more than 50 bomb threats had been made against Jewish organisations in the United States since January, including 11 on Monday. "Any additional funds raised in this campaign will assist other vandalized Jewish centers nationwide" the campaign organizers MPower Change and Celebrate Mercy said in a statement on launchgood.com. Fagin said he was so moved by their actions that he made a donation to the Islamic Center of Cleveland to thank them.

Although the motivations behind the vandalisation of the cemetery are still unclear, it does little to allay the anxieties of Jewish communities in the US. The cemetery would like to pay for us much of the cleanup and repairs as possible, but they're still assessing the damage.

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The incident follows a new round of bomb threats at Jewish community centers across the country.

"President Trump called this a disgusting and painful hour, and so it was", Pence said.

The governor of Missouri, Eric Greitens, spoke out on Facebook, condemning the crime.

The vice president said it was "inspiring" how the "people of Missouri have rallied around the Jewish community with compassion and support".

The Chesed Shel Emeth Society said it won't be able to read the names on many headstones and see if there is damage until the stones are lifted.

The act of unity and charity stands as a powerful rebuke to the recent uptick in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States, spurred on by the increased boldness of those in the "alt-right" and President Trump's attempts to institute a Muslim immigration ban.

  • Sonia Alvarado