Nearly $50,000 has been raised through a Muslim crowdfunding site for the victims of the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday. The site was started by two Muslim nonprofit organizations.
The fundraising campaign was launched on the site LaunchGood, which is a crowdfunding site specifically designed for Muslims. It reached its initial goal of $25,000 in less than six hours, and is now working to raise its new goal of $50,000.
“The Muslim-American community extends its hands to help the shooting victims, whether it is the injured victims or the Jewish families who have lost loved ones,” the website description reads. “We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.”
The fundraiser was started by two Muslim-American nonprofit groups, Celebrate Mercy and MPower Change. They say they are working in partnership with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh who will assist them in distributing the money to the victims and their families.
The website language also makes direct reference to the 11 people who were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood on Saturday. According to the Anti-Defamation League, this was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in United States history. The suspected gunman has been charged on 29 federal counts.
The funds will go to help families of victims pay for funeral expenses and medical bills, according to the LaunchGood page.
“Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate and violence in America,” the page reads. “We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event.”
This is a good move for the Muslim community. There is no question that the current political environment, thanks to Donald Trump, fosters a “toxic environment” for violence. Most of this violence is directed toward racial and religious minorities in the United States.
This weekend the target of the violence was Jews. Next weekend a gunman armed with an assault weapon may enter a Muslim Mosque and do the same thing. Now is the time for all Americans — no matter what race or religion — to come together in the cause of unity. This is the only way we will save our country and protect our democratic values.
In this regard, more language from the Muslim crowdfunding site may serve to inspire and guide us in the difficult days ahead as we try to heal from this senseless tragedy:
“While these senseless acts have filled us with sorrow, we reflect on the message of unity, tolerance, and mutual protection found in the Constitution of Medina: a historic social contract between the Medinan Jews and the first Muslim community. We are also inspired by the example of our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who stood up to pay respects for a passing Jewish funeral procession. When questioned on why he stood for a Jewish funeral, he responded, “Is it not a human soul?” [Source: Bukhari].
A Message of Unity
“Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate and violence in America. We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event.”
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.