Saturday morning, the United States was rocked by yet another mass shooting. An anti-Semitic gunman attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, leaving some 11 people dead. In the aftermath of the incident, the predictable wave of well wishes began to pour in, including from those who would rather us forget their own violence pushing rhetoric.
A pair of Muslim groups, however, decided to take matters into their own hands, undertaking practical steps to help the victims and their loved ones.
CelebrateMercy and MPower Change have joined together for a crowdfunding campaign that’s raised nearly $50,000 and counting for the Pittsburgh Jewish community. The campaign originally had a goal of $25,000, but it blew past that in just six hours. It’s set to run until November 7 — and who knows how much money it can raise before that, at this rate.
The two Muslim groups involved say they will “immediately” be transferring the money to the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh for distribution to affected Jewish families.
‘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.’
Indeed — according to the Anti-Defamation League, the Saturday incident in Pittsburgh was likely the deadliest attack on Jews in the United States, ever.
It stemmed from hatred for the “migrant caravan” that’s been publicized as making its way to the United States in recent weeks. To be clear, there is a consistent stream of individuals seeking asylum, but President Donald Trump has worked to cast the “caravan” as some sort of invading force. Some on the far right have publicized the idea that Jews are funding the caravan — and now we’re here.
Trump had a direct hand in pushing the idea that the caravan is being funded too, telling a crowd gathered in Montana, for instance:
‘A lot of money has been passing to people to come up and try and get to the border by election day, because they think that’s a negative for us… They have lousy policy… they wanted that caravan, and there are those that say that caravan didn’t just happen. It didn’t just happen.’
There remains no evidence for that claim whatsoever, but people like the Pittsburgh shooter, who’s now in federal custody, believe it anyway.
In stark contrast to the nation’s Muslim community, which Trump has worked furiously to undercut, his own rhetoric directly pushes violence time and time again. It was another supporter of his who took his message to heart who mailed bombs to an array of Democratic leaders across the United States, none of which went off but all of which sparked panic — and, of course, suggestions of “fake bombs” from some prominent voices on the right.
The contrast between the actions of the Muslim community and the president who’s claimed they’re a threat remains ironically striking.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot