One speech stood out for me more than all the others. Wasiullah Mohamed, the executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, took the stage. He announced that the center had begun raising money to pay for funeral expenses for the victims. He had already raised thousands, and in the coming weeks, the number would skyrocket to hundreds of thousands. Mohamed also made a vow: He pledged that the Pittsburgh Muslim community would stand with the Pittsburgh Jewish community. He and members of his community offered to personally stand guard at the doors of local synagogues, if necessary, to allow Jews safe passage to our places of worship and to accompany us if we felt unsafe running our daily errands.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of these words. Muslims offering to protect Jews? To me, there could be no greater olive branch, no more profound promise of peace.