NEW YORK CITY (JTA) – The Muslim man who started a crowdfunding page to help repair a mosque in Tampa damaged in an arson attack realized that many of the donors were Jewish after noticing the gifts came in multiples of 18.
Adeel Karim set up the Stand With New Tampa Muslims Against Hate crowdfunding page on the Launchgood website on Feb. 24, the day of the attack in the wee hours of the morning. The fire was put out quickly, but the sprinkler system caused a great deal of water damage.
Karim’s campaign raised nearly $60,000 in less than a week, surpassing its $40,000 goal.
“I couldn’t understand why people were donating in what seemed like weird amounts to the cause. There are sums of 18, 36, 72.00 dollars etc. then I figured out after clicking on the names Avi, Cohen, Gold-stein, Rubin, Fisher…. Jews donate in multiples of 18 as a form of what is called “Chai.” It wishes the recipient a long life,” Karim wrote recently in a Facebook post.
“You learn something new every day. The Jewish faith has shown up in force to support our New Tampa Islamic community. I’m floored,” the post continued. It concluded with the hashtag #chaidelieverd.
The Islamic Society of New Tampa mosque hosts interfaith events.
A quote on its website reads: “Let us not forget that we are all members of the same human fraternity; our differences are meant to be embraced; 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.”
Earlier this month, a crowdfunding campaign launched by two Muslim Americans raised over $100,000 for a vandalized Jewish cemetery outside of St. Louis.