Over the past few weeks, the United States, and indeed the world, have been on edge as President Trump issued rapid-fire executive orders barring refugees from seven predominately Muslim countries, ordered the construction of a wall along the southern border, and called the media the enemy of the American people. As civil society navigates its role during the Trump Administration, one source of inspiration over the past few weeks has been communities’ ability to come together and resist.
When the Muslim ban was signed, Jews and Muslims came together at airports to protest the ban, along with veterans, lawyers, and other seasoned and brand-new activists. When the Trump Administration floated the idea of a Muslim registry, Jews responded by saying they would be the first to register.
As Trump floundered on questions on rising antisemitism last week, nearly 200 Jewish graves were desecrated and eleven Jewish Community Centers received bomb threats over the weekend. Muslim activists responded to the news by starting a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to repair the cemetery that was vandalized. Within hours, the campaign raised $80,000, four times more than their initial target.
Our work in France has very clearly illustrated the need for interfaith activism. We know that antisemitism isn’t just a Jewish issue, and anti-Muslim bigotry isn’t just a Muslim issue. An activist from Parle-moi de Islam told us, “The best thing I can do as a Muslim to counter Islamophobia, is to be active and present in the fight against other forms of racism, in particular antisemitism.”
This most recent demonstration by Muslim activists to support the Jewish community is a great example of these words in action.