After an arsonist set fire to a mosque in Tampa, Florida late February, the Jewish community rallied together to help repair the damages for the Islamic community.
While no one was injured in the fire, it’s another incident in which a religious building has been targeted in the United States over the last few months.
After a Jewish cemetery in Missouri was desecrated, two Muslim activists came together and started a fundraiser to repair the damages titled “Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemetery.” They raised over $150,000 in the span of a few days with the help of going viral on social media, picking up a few celebrity endorsements in the process.
Now, it appears the Jewish community is returning the favor.
Adeel Karim, a Muslim man, started a crowdfunding page titled “Stand with New Tampa Muslims Against Hate.” With the help of the Jewish community, they raised over $74,000 after setting a goal of $40,000.
Karim first noticed that the donations came in increments of 18, and took to Facebook to express his surprise.
“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…” Karim wrote.
“Jews donate in multiples of 18 as a form of what is called ‘Chai,'” Karim continued. “It wishes the recipient a long life. You learn something new every day. The Jewish faith has shown up in force to support our New Tampa Islamic community. I’m floored.#chaidelivered.”
Local Muslims including CAIR-Florida Director Hassan Shibly are stunned by their generosity.
“The silver lining to the increase in hate crimes against the Muslim and Jewish communities is that it’s really brought the […] communities together,” Shibly told Red Alert Politics. “I’ve never seen so much solidarity between the Jewish and Muslim community as I have in recent times.”
He continued. “I think this sends an important message that we will not allow the haters to divide us.”
Shibly noted that those who are promoting anti-Semitism are often also pushing Islamophobia.
The New York Police Department stated that anti-Semitic hate crimes grew 94 percent between Jan. 1st and Feb. 26th compared to all of 2016. They also reported that Islamic hate crimes grew 50 percent during the same time period compared to last year.