NEW YORK (AA) : Muslim activists raised more than $78,000 as of early Wednesday afternoon to help repair a vandalized Jewish cemetery near St. Louis, Missouri.
Organizers were “overjoyed” the campaign on launchgood.com reached its goal of $20,000 within three hours and went on to achieve almost four times that with more than 2,800 supporters contributing.
Organized by Muslim civil rights activist Linda Sarsour and social entrepreneur Tarek El-Messidi, the campaign comes amid heightened threats and hate crimes against Jews across the country.
“Muslim Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish-American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration against the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery,” the campaign said on the website. “We also extend our deepest condolences to all those who have been affected and to the Jewish community at large.”
More than 170 headstones were damaged overnight Sunday at the cemetery, located in the St. Louis suburb of University City.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens called the vandalism an “act of senseless desecration” in a tweet Monday.
Speaking in Missouri, Vice President Mike Pence condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms” and said the people of Missouri who rallied around the Jewish community “inspire the country”.
The FBI and the Department of Justice announced earlier this week they were investigating a slew of threats on Jewish centers across the U.S.
In the latest jarring incident, the Anti-Defamation League said Wednesday its New York headquarters received an anonymous bomb threat.
“While there is no information at this time to indicate that this is more than a threat, we are taking it very seriously,” said Jonathan Greebelt, the president of the Jewish civil rights group.
The organization is working with law enforcement to determine if the incident it linked “to similar threats against Jewish institutions across the country,” he added.
At a Washington, DC speech Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the threats were “a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”
[Photo: Jewish cemetery vandalised in St Louis. Photo from Twitter]