How US Muslims Came Together for Victims of Synagogue Attack

In two separate crowdfunding campaigns, thousands of donors from all around the world collected close to $1.5 million to help the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Nov 6, 2018

Hundreds of students showed up at the University of Miami's Rock Monday night for a vigil that remembers the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue that occurred on Oct. 27. (Photo credit: Hunter Crenian)

In recent days, Muslim Americans made an incredible gesture of neighborly love and unity.

In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting on October 27, 2018, in which 11 Jewish worshippers were killed and many more injured, Chicago-based activist Tarek El-Messidi launched a crowdfunding campaign to help the victims of the attack.

El-Messidi heard of the attack from a friend who runs the Muslim crowdfunding site LaunchGood. His friend had the idea to launch a campaign for helping victims of the attack, and El-Messidi agreed to help.

“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,” says the campaign page. “We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.”

Within two hours, his campaign was backed by two Muslim organizations, CelebrateMercy and MPower Change and the initial goal that was at $25,000, was met in only six hours. In the following days, El-Messidi upped the campaign’s numerous times and was met with an overwhelming influx of donations every time.

At the time of writing, the campaign succeeded to raise over $235,000 from thousands of donors all over the world.

This is not the first time Mr. El-Messidi has raised funds from his community to support the Jewish community in the wake of anti-Semitism. Last year, he raised $136,000 to repair headstone vandalized in Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Another crowdfunding campaign that had an incredible success was launched by Shay Khatiri, an Iranian-American who immigrated to the US four years ago. He began the campaign over the weekend, and in just four days, raised over $1 million, and says that the donor list has revealed very similar results to the Launch Good page.

“There are Steins and Bergs, and there are Mohammeds. There are generic American names, and there are Asian ones,” says Khatiri.

“It is only fitting that Americans of all backgrounds — immigrant, native-born, Jewish, atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, etc. — are uniting against this hateful act. America is beautiful!”

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RISI ADLER FINKEL, CONTRIBUTOR
Risi has a passion for reading, traveling, and food. When she isn't writing about those things, she is experiencing them with her husband and son. One of the reasons she loves to travel is to learn about all the good in the world, and share these stories with others.

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