Justice

Jewish Community Helps Muslim Community After Their Mosque Burned Down

February 1st 2017

By:
Almie Rose

On Saturday, news outlets reported that the Islamic Center in Victoria, Texas, had burned down.

Victoria Islamic Center

Business Insider reports that federal officials are looking into what caused the fire, but in the meantime there's some uplifting news to report:

A nearby synagogue, Temple B'nai Israel, opened its doors to the Muslim community so that Muslims would have a place to worship.

Temple B'nai

Robert Loeb, the B'nai president, told The Forward why they gave them their key: "Everyone knows everybody, I know several members of the mosque, and we felt for them."

"When a calamity like this happens, we have to stand together," Loeb said.

He added, "This is sad for everyone in the community and as Jews we especially have to feel for the Muslim community. When a calamity like this happens, we have to stand together. We have probably 25 to 30 Jewish people in Victoria, and they probably have 100 Muslims. We got a lot of building for a small amount of Jews."

Temple B'nai Israel

The Forward also reports Shahid Hashmi, one of the mosque's founders, told The New York Times that "Jewish community members walked into my home and gave me a key to the synagogue."

The Muslim community is expressing thanks to B'nai Israel on their Facebook page

And not just in Victoria, either. 

There have been over $1 million in donations to rebuild the mosque.

While the Jews at Temple B'nai Israel have opened their doors, others all around the world have been contributing to a GoFundMe page set up to rebuild the Islamic Center. Their goal was $850,000; as of publication, they have collected over $1 million.

Those who cannot donate money are showing support in other ways, with one person posting on the fundraising page: "I can't donate much money, but I'd like to donate hands and time. Is there any plan in place for the community to help?" In a time of deep political division, it's nice to know people from different backgrounds can come together to rebuild a community.