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Muslims Raised More Than $100,000 To Repair A Vandalized Jewish Cemetery

The campaign initially set out to raise $20,000 by March. It surpassed that goal in just one day.

Last updated on February 22, 2017, at 9:56 p.m. ET

Posted on February 22, 2017, at 11:56 a.m. ET

After almost 200 headstones were vandalized at a historic Jewish cemetery in St. Louis last weekend, Muslims have raised over $100,000 to repair it.

We are almost there. Help repair the St. Louis Jewish cemetery. Donate what you can. https://t.co/T7IFEfEKSD

The campaign, organized by Muslim-American activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi, initially set out to raise $20,000 for the 124-year-old Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery by the end of March.

It exceeded its goal in just one day. Additional funds will go towards repairing vandalism at other Jewish centers around the world, according to the campaign.

"Solidarity is a verb not a noun," Sarsour wrote in a viral Facebook post.

Sarsour said she felt "outraged at the despicable act committed against the St. Louis Jewish cemetery," and called upon the Muslim community to help rebuild it.

"We are also inspired by the example of our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who stood up to pay respects for a passing Jewish funeral procession," she wrote. "When questioned on why he stood for a Jewish funeral, he responded, 'Is it not a human soul?'"

People are thanking Sarsour, El-Messidi, and all who contributed to the campaign, many citing Sarsour's statement that "solidarity is a verb."

Thank you @lsarsour for helping restore Chesed Shel Emeth, where my grandparents are buried. A blessing out of dark… https://t.co/xfdc4ReOAZ

.@Elmessidi received this message from a Jewish woman whose family was buried in the desecrated cemetery… https://t.co/IYeFosi1bL

This is what solidarity looks like. Thank you @lsarsour & all the Muslims standing against antisemitism. https://t.co/M2njZOQXkm

I just want to point out that @lsarsour, who today raised $25k for the Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, is a Palestinian woman >

Police are reviewing security footage of the cemetery, but have not yet made any arrests, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Vandals target historic Jewish cemetery in University City. https://t.co/wlvZHf7KK1

Detective Lt. Fredrick Lemons II said there's "nothing to indicate it was any type of hate crime," but has not ruled out the possibility.

"We want our citizens — Jewish and non-Jewish — to feel comfortable," he said.

The vandalism incident follows a series of bomb threats on Jewish Community Centers across the country, including 11 just this past weekend, all of which were determined to be hoaxes.

The Jewish Community Center at Delaware and Summer is evacuated, Buffalo Police on the scene.

On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was lambasted for his response to the bomb threats, which did not mention Jews.

“Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom,” Spicer said in a statement. “The president has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.”

Trump and his administration has previously faced criticism for its weak stance against anti-Semitism, including not mentioning Jews in a Holocaust Remembrance Day Statement.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump denounced anti-Semitism, telling MSNBC's Craig Melvin it's "horrible and it’s going to stop."

When pressed if he was condemning anti-Semitism, he replied, “Of course. I do it whenever I get a chance, I do it.”

And on CNN on Tuesday, former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum blamed anti-Semitism on Muslims.

"If you look at the fact of the people who are responsible for a lot of this anti-Semitism that we're seeing, I hate to say it, a lot of it is coming from the pro-Palestinian or Muslim community. So let's just lay out that fact," he said, without citing facts.

In response to the bomb threats, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an American organization for Muslim civil rights and advocacy, is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those who made the bomb threats.

"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 National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.

“We hope this reward will aid in the swift apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators.”

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Sarsour and El-Messidi.

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