Days after Muslim activists created a fundraising campaign to repair decimated Jewish headstones in St. Louis, Missouri, Jewish donors are returning the favor by contributing funds to a repair a mosque in Florida.
Soon after the Daarus Salaam Mosque in Tampa was set on fire last Friday, a Muslim man named Adeel Karim created a LaunchGood fundraising campaign to raise $40,000 for repairs for water damage caused when the blaze was put out. Within days, the campaign had raised over $60,000, thanks to an outpouring of support from Jewish donors. Karim discovered their generosity when he realized people were giving what appeared to be random sums of money.
“I couldn’t understand why people were donating in what seemed like weird amounts to the cause. There are sums of 18, 36, 72.00 dollars etc. then I figured out after clicking on the names Avi, Cohen, Gold-stein, Rubin, Fisher,” he explained in a recent Facebook post. “Jews donate in multiples of 18 as a form of what is called ‘Chai’. It wishes the recipient a long life.”
According to Karim’s campaign page, the mosque regularly hosts interfaith events for the community. The speedy donations are yet another sign that solidarity between Muslims and Jews is on the rise. Members of both faiths are forming alliances in response to the documented rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia nationwide.
Hate crimes against both groups have skyrocketed in the past year, due in large part to President Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric. Just over one month into his presidency, several mosques have gone up in flames, Jewish schools and community centers have received an alarming number of bomb threats, and Jewish tombstones have been decimated in at least two cities.
Trump is noticeably quiet about racially-motivated attacks, but Muslims and Jews are stepping up to help each other. Within 24 hours of news reports about damaged graves in St. Louis, Muslims donated more than $65,000 for repairs — triple the amount that was asked for. The total raised now exceeds $140,000.