Tarek El-Messidi tells a story about the prophet Muhammad standing in observance of a Jewish funeral procession because, as he said, "Is it not a human soul?" To show that kind of respect to their "Jewish cousins" is one of the reasons El-Messidi and fellow Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour started an online fundraiser after they saw the news about destruction at a Jewish cemetery in Missouri over the weekend, the Washington Post reports. According to CNN, vandals defaced and knocked over more than 170 headstones at Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery. "Muslim-Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish-American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration," the fundraising page states.
El-Messidi and Sarsour started the fundraiser Tuesday with the goal of raising $20,000 by late-March. They reached that goal in three hours. By Wednesday afternoon, the fundraiser had exceeded $90,000. Sarsour and El-Messidi say the extra funds will go to the dozens of Jewish community centers that have faced anti-Semitic attacks and bomb threats this year. "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 pair state on the fundraising page. Since the election, both Muslim and Jewish communities have been increasingly targeted in hate crimes.