Local Response to Anti-Semitism

Local News

From desecration of cemeteries, to bomb threats, Jewish communities nationwide are concerned with the growing anti-semitism.

This past Monday, more than 150 gravestones were destroyed in a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis.

In response to this event, the Islamic Foundation of Peoria (IFP) and the Islamic Center of Peoria (ICP) wrote a letter showing support to the Jewish community.

“There is a lot of hateful actions which are taking place and this was our way of reaching out to our Jewish friends and neighbors in the community in whom we have very good relations,” said Imam Mufti, IFP religious director.

In a letter to Central Illinois’ Jewish community, Mufti calls recent anti-semitic acts, “alarming and unacceptable”.

“It does nothing,” said Mufti. “I mean, this type of hate leads to nowhere. It proves no point. It is totally ineffectual. It serves no purpose.”

Susan Katz is the executive director at the Jewish Federation of Peoria (JFP).

Kats says she is happy to see this support coming from the community.

“We’ve had people in the community reach out to use,” said Katz. “It feels good. It’s nice to know that we have friends in the community. We knew that we did, but we really know we do now.”

Anti-semitic acts have been on the rise in the U.S. in recent months.

“The statistics that I have seen showed an uptick after the Republican convention, and then showed another considerable increase right after the election,” said Katz.

Thursday morning, Katz received an email about a bomb threat directed toward a Jewish Community Center (J.C.C.) in Louisiana.

“I’m deeply concerned about the rising anti-semitism in this country because it’s real,” said Katz. “We’re not imagining this. It’s a problem, we need to address it.”

But the uptick in threats isn’t keeping religious groups from supporting one another

“The cemetery that was vandalized in St. Louis, a Muslim group got together, their target was $20,000 and I think they raised $60,000 or $80,000. That’s phenomenal!”

And by coming together, they hope to spread a message of peace and hope.

“There’s a lot of darkness and anti-semitism out there,” said Katz. “But now I’m seeing other minority groups step and say we’re going to support you and we support them.”

Along with the letter, both ICP and IFP will donate a gift to the Peoria Holocaust Memorial.

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