Muslim Americans raise $240k for victims of synagogue shooting

30th Nov 2018
Muslim Americans raise $240k for victims of synagogue shooting

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issues statement following the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Two Muslim American groups have raised over $240,000 (£185,000) to aid Jewish victims and their families after a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the state of Pennsylvania.

The fundraising campaign organised by CelebrateMercy and MPower Change received national attention for the amount of money raised in a short period of time.

The money raised was in response to a gunman opening fire during Shabbat morning services on October 27, leaving 11 dead and six others injured, including four police officers.

The suspect, Robert Bowers, 46, used social media to post anti-Semitic rhetoric, saying “Jews are the children of Satan”.

CelebrateMercy Founding Director, Tarek El-Messidi, said his group wanted to adhere to the tenets of Islam with the campaign.

“We wish to respond to evil with good, as our Islamic faith teaches us, and send a powerful message of compassion to the Jewish community – our Abrahamic cousins.”

The money helps pay for funerals and medical costs for the victims, and their families, and any other immediate or short-term needs. Funds will be delivered to the Islamic Centre of Pittsburgh to work directly with the Tree of Life Synagogue.

The initial fundraising goal was set at $25,000 on October 27 but was quickly surpassed within six hours. Four days later, the groups raised at least $214,000 with six days left in the fundraising campaign.

Imam Wasi Mohamed of the Islamic Centre of Pittsburgh, recalled the Jewish community’s response to Muslims after 9/11 and President Donald Trump’s election, “We just want to know what you need. If it’s more money, let us know. If it’s people outside your next service protecting you, let us know. We’ll be there. That was the same offer made to me by this community, we’re just repaying the favour.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemned the shooting and blamed the current US Administration for setting a climate of bigotry and hate.

Said Jacob Bender, Executive Director of CAIR-Philadelphia said, “This hate crime did not happen in a vacuum but in a climate of bigotry and calls to violence endorsed by the President of the United States. We take this opportunity to remind the President that words matter and have consequences in the real world. The demonization inherent in today’s politics must be brought to an immediate end.”

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