Muslim-American activists raise more than $20,000 in 2 hours to repair vandalized Jewish cemetery
Two Muslim-Americans activists launched a crowdfunding campaign Tuesday to raise money to repair a historic Jewish cemetery in St. Louis that was vandalized over the weekend. Within two hours, the fundraising campaign started by Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi had already surpassed its goal of $20,000. "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 crowdfunding webpage read.
More than 100 headstones were toppled or damaged in the attacks, believed to have happened late Sunday night or early Monday. Investigators are reviewing surveillance footage to help identify suspects.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who is Jewish, has condemned the attacks as "despicable" and "cowardly" and requested volunteers to help him clean up the cemetery Wednesday afternoon. The Missouri House of Representatives in Jefferson City held a moment of silence Tuesday for the cemetery, which opened in 1893. "Anxiety is high. Your loved ones are there. Your memories are there," said Karen Aroesty, the St. Louis regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
The cemetery attack marks the second instance of anti-Semitic violence this week alone, after a bomb threat was called into a Jewish community center in Wisconsin on Monday. Since early January, 54 Jewish community centers across 27 states have faced threats. Becca Stanek
On Tuesday, President Trump outright denounced anti-Semitism while speaking at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. After dodging questions from reporters at two separate press conferences last week regarding rising anti-Semitism — only offering that he is "the least anti-Semitic person you have ever seen" — Trump was less equivocating Tuesday, saying "the anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible, and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."
But the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, the U.S. branch of the worldwide organizations founded in Frank’s name to fight prejudice and hatred, was not impressed by the president’s statement, deeming it a "pathetic asterisk of condescension" after his administration’s track record:
New statement from the Anne Frank Center: "Trump’s sudden ackowlegement of Anti-Semitism is like a band-aid for cancer." pic.twitter.com/eh81LwBngi
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 21, 2017
On Monday, a Jewish community center in Wisconsin was evacuated after receiving its second bomb threat in three weeks. The Wisconsin center was reportedly one of at least 10 Jewish facilities that received similar threats Monday. Kimberly Alters