Detroit Muslims, Jews Unite to Raise $26K for Asylum Seekers

Building on years of cooperation, Muslim and Jewish communities have come together to help asylum seekers at Mexican borders, raising funds to offer living essentials, Fox 2 Detroit reported.

“We have a lot in common as American citizens from all faiths. Whether we practice our religion or uphold our Constitution, we have a lot in common,” Mahmoud Al-Hadidi with the Michigan Muslim Community Council said.

“It’s an essential part of a mission to bring people together,” he added.

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According to Rabbi Jen Lader with Temple Israel, when asylum-seekers arrive at border cities as they try to enter from Mexico, they’re met with resistance and told to find their own way.

“They’re then dumped in a downtown city with no food, no clothes, no lodging – often with children in tow and they are expected, often without English skills, to find their way to their sponsors, so they can have their asylum hearings in that city,” Lader said.

Therefore, she decided to cooperate with the Muslim community to raise funds for Congregation Albert in New Mexico, where hundreds of families are being dropped off with nothing.

The cooperation is not the first for the Muslim and Jewish communities in Detroit, Michigan, with a long history of helping others.

“Our traditions, both in the Jewish and Muslim tradition, there is a teaching that he who saves one life is as if that person saved an entire world. It speaks to the magnitude of a single life,” said David Kurzmann with the Jewish community relations council.

Thanks to this interfaith unity, $26,000 have been raised for toiletries, food, underwear, and bus tickets.

“When they clear the process to give them essential health aid, transportation to their destination, some cash. To give them some dignity and welcome to this country that we all wish to receive when we enter any other country,” Al-Hadidi said.

“Buying packs of T-shirts, housing their families in hotel room for a night or two, giving them $10 cash and a bus ticket for a three-day journey to somewhere else in the country. So, we can’t be there on our hands to hug children had to hand people sandwiches, but we are doing our best to partner with them in their holy work on the ground,” said Lader.

It’s taken years for the Jewish and Muslim faiths to work hand-in-hand.

“The Jewish, Muslim relationship in our community is something we cherish and it is an initiative we work on regularly, it‘s been about building trust and building relationships, and partnerships,” Kurzmann said

In September 2016, Muslim and Jewish communities came together to prepare a struggling Detroit elementary school for New Year and counter potential fear and mistrust among both communities.

Six months earlier, more than 100 Muslim and Jewish volunteers along with Nolan students and parents came together to clean the school’s library, paint the bathroom stalls and install new toilet seats, clean debris from the grounds and complete a student-designed hallway mural.

Every year on Christmas season, American Muslim and Jewish families come together to deliver gifts to poor families in Detroit.