After a string of bomb threats that have rattled over five dozen Jewish community centers across America, a prominent Muslim advocacy and civil rights group is stepping up to help track down the culprits.
In a statement posted to the group’s Facebook page on Feb. 20, 2017, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the identification and conviction of those responsible.
“It is the duty of American Muslims to offer support to the Jewish community and any minority group targeted in the recent spike in hate crimes nationwide,” CAIR’s national executive director, Nihad Awad, said in the statement. “We hope this reward will aid in the swift apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators.”
Threats against Muslim and Jewish communities spiked after the 2016 election and continue to occur at an alarming rate across the country, according to reports from watchdog groups.
Over the weekend, nearly 200 headstones were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, including those of Holocaust survivors.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports the number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States tripled in 2016.
The reward offer is the latest show of mutual support between the two communities, which have rallied together as threats against them and their congregations have surged.
Shortly after the election, the Islamic Society of North America and American Jewish Committee joined forces to create the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, an umbrella organization dedicated to combatting anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
The unity has become visible at protests around the country in recent weeks. In early February, 19 rabbis were arrested outside of Trump International Hotel in New York while protesting the Trump administration’s executive order barring immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.
Awad noted that American Muslims had received a “tremendous level of support” from the Jewish community and that his group was committed to returning the favor.
For the millions of Americans facing unprecedented threats to their families, lives, and livelihoods, seeing people of all faiths and backgrounds standing against hate — and in solidarity — is a welcome sign.
For those millions, the past several months have been a uniquely dangerous time.
Until that danger passes, regardless of who we are, where we come from, or what we believe, we all need to have each others’ backs.