Toronto - In a situation where hate speech is increasingly occupying the realm of everyday language, a group of American-Muslim activists are mobilizing to raise funds to repair a vandalized Jewish cemetery in St. Louis Missouri, according to a Washington Post report.
Toronto – In a situation where hate speech is increasingly occupying the realm of everyday language, a group of American-Muslim activists are mobilizing to raise funds to repair a vandalized Jewish cemetery in St. Louis Missouri, according to a Washington Post report.
Last weekend was a holiday weekend in America. While citizens in St. Louis, Missouri chose to spend quality time with family and friends, a smaller, darker group chose to spend their time damaging more than 150 headstones in a Jewish cemetery. It was a sad reminder of the hate that stubbornly remains in human society, lurking under the surface of civilized behaviour but too close for comfort to reasonable people. This was a weekend of vandalism for the Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery.
Feeling the familiar sting of marginalization, two Muslim activists decided it was time to act for unity. Tarek El-Messidi and Linda Sarsour began to raise funds to repair the damage done to the cemetery. It set a goal of $20,000 but had surpassed that in a matter of just a few hours. According to the same source, any funds in excess of what it needed will be set aside in a “leftover” fund to be used to combat anti-Semitic hate.
Messidi said he’d been remind of a story about the prophet Muhammad standing up for a Jewish funeral procession. When asked why he was showing such respect, he answered, “Is it not a human soul?”
Messidi thought it the perfect example of, not only the prophet’s wisdom, but more importantly, it represented a “great way to show respect for our Jewish cousins.” He added, “We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event.”
Celebrate Mercy is a non-profit organization which Messidi runs to educate people on the prophet’s teachings. It is also a rallying point for Muslims wanting to conquer evil through good deeds. The group has raised funds on numerous occasions when violence has occurred, such as the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. They raised more that $215,000 to assist the victims.
It is ironic that two, thought-to-be, ideologically opposed groups have been brought together by the shared experience of xenophobia. As Messidi sees it, “This is really a human issue. But out of this horrible election cycle, something beautiful has come out of it and [Muslims and Jews have] bonded together to support each other and stand up to this hate. Politics can get in the way of our basic humanity; I hope this breaks through all those walls, no pun intended, to help bring us closer together.”