Metro Detroit Muslims, Jews work together to raise $26K for border asylum seekers

Republican or Democrat - it doesn't matter what side of the aisle you think is right. There is a harsh reality on the ground in cities that border Mexico.

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. That's according to rabbi Jen Lader with Temple Israel.

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

So her and her congregation decided to raise money for Congregation Albert in New Mexico - where hundreds of families are being dropped off with nothing. But she's not alone.

Members of the metro Detroit Muslim community caught wind of the effort and got on board to help. Mahmoud Al-Hadidi with the Michigan Muslim Community Council said the problems at the borders span all faiths.

"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.  It's an essential part of a mission to bring people together," said Al-Hadidi.

These two faiths working together is nothing new in Southeast Michigan. The Muslim and Jewish communities have made a strong bond over the years and it's something both sides are proud of, in good times or in bad.  

"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.

In just one week, $26,000 have been raised for toiletries, food, underwear, and bus tickets.  All of it is going right to the New Mexico congregation that's helping asylum seekers ahead of their legal proceedings.  

"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 is been about building trust and building relationships, and partnerships," Kurzmann said

But they can't do it alone. Both sides are hoping others can chip in and help people who need it. For more information check out