The killing of 11 people and wounded six others in their own synagogue is not a Jewish problem. It is our problem. It is an American problem. Within the depths of this tragedy, people of this nation have turned away from the ugly politics of division and come together in this beautiful way.
American Muslims reached out to the families of those who died in the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting spree over the weekend. They began the same day of the incident and raised over $120,000 in just a few days.
Two non-profit Muslim organizations, CelebrateMercy and MPowerChange, began the online drive to raise money for the people who had to go through such terror, shock, and grief on American shores. Within just six hours, they had reached their goal of $25,000, according to The Guardian.
An Iranian student going to the Arizona State University, Shay Khatiri, started another online drive. So far, she has raised over $600,00 to donate to the synagogue.
Muslims also came together online with the synagogue by writing the hashtag #Muslims4Pittsburgh. In addition, a number of people organized interfaith vigils in Pittsburgh hours after the after the massacre.
Director of CelebrateMercy, Tarek El-Messidi said:
‘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. 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 or anywhere worldwide.’
The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh has been designated the distributor of the funds for the victim’s families at Tree of Life. The first goal was to help families with funeral expenses, medical cost, and other needs, according to El-Messidi.
In addition, the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh updated it website with this statement:
‘The Pittsburgh muslim community extends our deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims, their families, and all of our Jewish brothers and sisters. We condemn this hate crime unequivocally, and denounce all forms of hatred and bigotry. The Pittsburgh community is our family; what happens to one of us, is felt by us all. May peace and blessings be upon all of us during this tragic time.’
‘The problem here is hate. The problem is there is a growing space in this country for hate speech and hate speech always turns into hate action,” he told CNN on Saturday night. We cannot stand by as individuals or organizations or as governments when people spew hatred against, Jews, refugees, Latinos, against any group that some see as the other.’
Relatives of brothers David and Cecil Rothenthal said that the families have planned the first funerals for Tuesday.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.