crowdfunding campaign launched by two Muslim Americans has raised over $100,000 in less than two days for a vandalized Jewish cemetery outside of St. Louis.
The LaunchGood.com campaign, titled “Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemetery,” has brought in $115,000 as of Thursday morning for repairs to the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Missouri. On Monday, over 170 gravestones were found to have been toppled there by vandals.
Vice President Mike Pence and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who is Jewish, both stopped by the cemetery on Wednesday to help volunteers in the cleanup effort. In a speech, Pence condemned the recent bomb threats against Jewish community centers across the country and “this vile act of vandalism and those who perpetrated it in the strongest possible terms.”
No suspects have been identified.
The Muslim fundraiser was started by activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi on Tuesday afternoon. Sarsour has stirred controversy for her support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. She has called herself “a critic of the State of Israel” and has posted several anti-Israel messages on Twitter in recent years.
El-Messidi, who works at the Muslim charity Celebrate Mercy, told NBC News that approximately two-thirds of the donations have come from Muslims.
“Historically, we did not work together,” he said. “People are putting their politics aside and working to fight bigotry together.”