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Muslim-Led Fundraiser To Help Vandalized Jewish Cemetery Be Repaired

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now we have a story about one religious group helping another. Yesterday, workers started righting headstones at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. As many as 200 were vandalized there over the weekend, an attack that prompted some Muslim activists to help out online.

LINDA SARSOUR: We actually met our goal of $20,000 within three hours. And now we are at over 1,500 donors, majority of whom are from the Muslim community across this country.

INSKEEP: That's Linda Sarsour. She and a fellow activist started the fundraising effort for the cemetery yesterday. The vandalism comes as dozens of Jewish community centers nationwide have received bomb threats since January. Yesterday, President Trump denounced anti-Semitic actions like that. He'd been facing public pressure to do so after turning aside previous questions about it. Sarsour says American Jews have the support of American Muslims.

SARSOUR: This is another way for us to publicly defy the stereotype that Muslims and Jews are not communities that can get along.

INSKEEP: Although, she says, more needs to be done.

SARSOUR: It's been a very emotional time for the Muslim community across this country. People are on the edge. They don't know what this administration is capable of. So I think it was kind of like a light in the darkness for us to be able to tell a different story that does not include us being connected to terrorism, which is kind of the story that you always hear about Muslims and Islam.

INSKEEP: The campaign by Muslims set a goal to raise $20,000 for the Jewish cemetery and has met that goal several times over. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.