The Muslim American community has raised more than $125,000 via crowdfunding for the victims of the shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the Washington Post reports.
The shooting occurred during a morning service on Saturday and took the lives of 11 people. Tarek El-Messidi, a Muslim American speaker and activist, began the fundraising campaign, called Muslims Unite for Pittsburgh Synagogue, as soon as he found out about the massacre. The event “made me sick to my stomach,” El-Messidi told the Washington Post. The campaign reached its original goal of $25,000 in just six hours, and the money kept coming in.
Leader of Islamic Center of Pittsburgh announces Muslim community has raised more than $70,000 for synagogue attack victims and their families.
"We just want to know what you need … If it's people outside your next service protecting you, let us know. We'll be there." pic.twitter.com/D2UyNzBFHx
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 29, 2018
The campaign is an attempt to offset the immediate short-term needs of the injured victims as well as the grieving families, and will also help with funeral expenses.
El-Messidi wrote on the fundraising page (on the Muslim crowdfunding site LaunchGood), “We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.”
“No amount of money will bring back their loved ones, but we do hope to lessen their burden in some way,” wrote El-Messidi.
This isn’t the first time El-Messidi, the founder of Celebrate Mercy, has stepped up to help people in need. After a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated last year, which resulted in over 150 tombstones being damaged or pushed over, El-Messidi and another American Muslim activist started a fundraiser that brought in over $160,000 for repairs.
“We share a lot theologically with the Jewish community,” El-Messidi said, “and a foundational teaching is you never harm religious spaces—regardless if it’s a mosque, a temple, church. One should never be worried about being harmed or killed in a place of worship.”
h/t Washington Post