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US Muslim military veterans offer to guard Jewish sites after threats

Left: Muslims helping to repair damage to a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia (Photo credit: Muhammed Chaudhry/Twitter) Right: Vandalism to Jewish graves in Washington cemetery. (Photo credit: screenshot from video)

WASHINGTON: In a show of inter-faith unity, Muslim military veterans in the US have offered to guard Jewish sites amid a spike in bomb threats against Jewish centres and vandalism targeting the community’s cemeteries.

Many Muslim US military veterans have tweeted their support for Jewish people in the wake of threats and vandalism targeted at the community.

In a tweet, a former Muslim marine, Tayyib Rashid, pledged, “If your synagogue or Jewish cemetery needs someone to stand guard, count me in. Islam requires it.”

Rashid, known by his Twitter handle @MuslimMarine, said in his Periscope video that, “I’ve seen a tremendous outpouring of love and support from all Americans, from Muslims, from my fellow Jewish Americans, from Christians, from atheists, from everyone”.

His tweet has gone viral and has prompted other American Muslims to offer their support to the Jewish community.

Another Muslim veteran tweeted, “I’m a Muslim Veteran in Arizona and will readily stand guard at any Jewish Synagogue or Cemetery at any hour. #WeAreOne.”

“Houston area Jewish community, I spent ten years protecting our country and I will gladly protect Jewish places of worship if you need,” another Muslim veteran said.

However, it was not just Muslim veterans tweeting support, other Muslims joined in too. Emmy Award-winning TV Broadcaster Momin Bhatti took to social media to pledge support in his call to protect Jewish sites.

“I’m a Muslim in #Harrisburg. If your synagogue or community center needs someone 2 stand guard, I will stand guard for you. Islam requires it,” he said.

This show of solidarity follows an online campaign called ‘Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemetery’, which has raised more than USD 115,000 to repair the gravestones toppled over at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in the St. Louis suburb of University City, Missouri, Fox News reported.

Earlier this week, dozens of volunteers from various faiths helped clean up the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia, which was vandalised over the weekend. President Donald Trump has condemned these types of attacks.

“We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” he had said.

There has also been a surge of bomb threats against synagogues, Jewish centres and schools around the US.

This week alone, there were threats made against numerous Jewish centres and at least one school in California, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, The Huffington Post reported.

The FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are probing the threats.