ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — It’s an opportunity to bridge faiths, while supporting one of the few businesses open on Christmas Day.
It’s called the Muslims and Jews Christmas Day lunch. This year it happened at Inchin’s Bamboo Garden, a Chinese food restaurant, in Round Rock.
“About ten years ago, we got together as Jews and Muslims in the Austin area, and we wanted to enjoy breaking bread together on Christmas Day,” Zafar Choudhury, an organizer, said.
The event started off with just a few families, but this year they say a couple of hundred people showed up throughout the duration of the event.
“This year especially we wanted to bring it back because we have seen an astronomical rise in Anti-Semitic attacks and the rise of some of the extremism that we’re seeing, so we wanted to bring the families together and remind our Jewish brothers and sisters that we are here as a community for them,” Choudhury said.
According to a report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Texas ranked among the top six states with the highest number of antisemitic incidents in 2021:
- New York — 416 incidents
- New Jersey — 370 incidents
- California — 367 incidents
- Florida — 190 incidents
- Michigan — 112 incidents
- Texas — 112 incidents
Jackie Nirenberg, the regional director for ADL in Austin, said it’s important to remember that many hateful threats, bullying or attacks go unreported, meaning the numbers could be even higher.
“Events like this have helped bridge a better sense of understanding,” Choudhury said.