The Muslim community in Tampa, Florida, received support from its neighboring Jewish community after attempted arson damaged a mosque.
Adeel Karim, an attendant at the Daarus Salaam mosque, created a crowdfunding page to hire security and repair the mosque. Donations began pouring in, and soon surpassed the $40,000 goal. Many of the donations were in increments of 18 dollars, according to National Public Radio.
“The number 18 is the value you get for the word chai, which means life,” said Jason Rosenberg, Rabbi of Beth Am, during an interview with NPR. “My guess is, for most, it was just a natural act to do it in 18 because it was a loving act of life–affirming.”
The Beth Am and Daarus Salaam communities had already established a connection two weeks before the fire. When Rosenberg saw a post on Facebook about the LaunchGood campaign, he shared it with his friends, according to Tampa Bay Times.
The donations from the Jewish community come in the wake of many recent incidents of interfaith support. Muslim volunteers helped repair headstones at vandalized Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia and St. Louis, according to Tampa Bay Times.
In January, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bellevue, Washington, opened its doors to Muslims whose mosque had been the subject of another devastating arson attack. They set aside a room specifically for their Muslim neighbors to use for daily prayers, according to Scroll.
“When something like this fire happens, you just kind of slump over,” Karim said, according to Tampa Bay Times. “You’re hurt. Then something like this happens and it’s like somebody comes over and grabs you by the shoulders and straightens you and says, hey, we’ve got your back.”
The fundraiser to repair the mosque has now raised nearly twice as much as its intended goal, with over $77,500 from over 2,000 supporters.
“Let us not forget that we are all members of the same human fraternity … our diversity should become our strength if we wholeheartedly commit ourselves to get to know each other because, as Allah has made clear, we are all descendants of one man and one woman,” according to the fundraising page.