‘I’m a Muslim Veteran in Arizona and will readily stand guard at any Jewish Synagogue or Cemetery at ANY hour’
Following a spate of attacks and threats on Jewish establishments, Muslim Americans have been offering to stand guard at sites across the US in a show of solidarity between people of Islamic and Jewish faiths.
In addition to documented vandalism – such as the desecration graves in Missouri and elsewhere – at least 100 bomb threats against Jewish sites across the country were reported by the religion’s JCC Association in January and February.
Outraged by the growing climate of anti-Semitism, former US Marine Tayyib Rashib tweeted: “If your synagogue or Jewish cemetery needs someone to stand guard, count me in. Islam requires it.”
Mr Rashib, who refers to himself on social media as The Muslim Marine, added a series of comments which underpinned his stance.
“Our God reminds us that we can achieve peace & security ONLY when we wish for others what we wish for ourselves,” he said.
“If we care to establish peace and justice we must learn to see the world thru the eyes of the oppressed. I, Muslim Marine, stand with you.”
He also offered to meet in a coffee shop with members of the Jewish community and wider public to talk about their concerns.
Mr Rashib’s message quickly went viral and sparked a series of similar offers.
Two Muslim American veterans, whose tweets are protected so not visible to all users, also expressed solidarity.
“I echo Muslim Marine – I’m a Muslim Veteran in Arizona and will readily stand guard at any Jewish Synagogue or Cemetery at ANY hour. #WeAreOne,” said Nate Terani.
Khalid Whalid said: “Houston area Jewish community I spent ten years protecting our country and I will gladly protect Jewish places of worship if you need me!”
The JCC Association also tweeted a letter of support it received from the Valley Ranch Islamic Centre in Texas.
Muslim Americans have already been contributing to the effort to clean up vandalised Jewish cemeteries.
After an attack on a cemetery in Rochester, New York state, a group of local Muslims went directly to the site to help.
A fund set up by Islamic activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi to support the repair work quickly reached over $150,000, with donations still coming in.
In Florida, Muslim students showed solidarity with their Jewish peers by sending them flowers.
Some critics have suggested the apparent rising atmosphere of anti-Semitism is connected to the rhetoric of President Donald Trump.
After a long period of silence regarding the attacks, the President appeared to suggest they may have been committed by members of the Jewish community themselves to undermine his administration.