It is easy to turn on the news and get discouraged by current events, but reports of unexpected kindness and solidarity can give us hope. In response to a slew of recent bomb threats to Jewish community centers, some Muslim community members are stepping up in support.
One Muslim Marine Corps veteran, Rashid, volunteered to stand guard outside Jewish religious and community centers after one such center in Chicago was evacuated due to a bomb threat in February.
Rashid empathized with the persecution Jews were facing, saying, “We know firsthand what it’s like to be marginalized and to have the graves of our ancestors desecrated. These are cowardly acts to carry out.”
“We’ve seen this story before. History continues to repeat itself,” he said. “People who understand what’s going on recognize that if this is not combated in a way to change the hearts of the people who are doing this, it’ll continue to get worse.”
And Rashid isn’t the only American Muslim speaking out against these threatening acts of persecution. After Salaam Bhatti, of Queens, New York, heard about a 100 Jewish headstones being desecrated at a Philadelphia cemetery, he traveled there to help with the clean up.
Bhatti said, “We as Muslims believe in universal human rights,” he said. “For our Jewish brothers and sisters, that freedom was infringed upon.”
The Huffington Post reported, “volunteers eventually arrived in swaths. So many people came to offer support in Philly that organizers had to stagger cleanup work and activism in shifts... Tens of thousands of dollars have been donated to form a reward for information leading to an arrest of a suspect.”
35 year old Army Veteran Khalid Whalid offered his support as well, saying, “You don’t fight for a cause, you fight so you and your brother can go home. If you’re a Muslim, it’s just like being a Christian or a Jew. We all came from tribes of Abraham. And we’re supposed to protect our brothers, no matter what.”
These American Muslims standing up to protect Jewish sites in the United States serve as a reminder that human rights, regardless of religion, are a crucial part of Jesus’ command that we “love one another” (John 13:34-35).