Muslim groups raised thousands of dollars for victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
On Saturday morning, a lone gunman stormed into Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue and killed 11 people. Six people were injured, including four police officers who responded to the situation. The suspect, identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers, reportedly made anti-Semitic statements during the shooting, and frequently targeted Jews on the social media platform Gab. He even appeared to declare his violent intentions, writing, "I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in." The Anti-Defamation League released a statement calling this massacre the deadliest attack ever on Jews in the United States.
After a shootout with officers, Bowers was brought into custody, suffering from several gunshot wounds. Today he was released from the hospital and brought into court in a wheelchair. Bowers faces 29 charges, including 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder and multiple counts of two hate crimes. Should he be convicted of a hate crime, he could receive the death penalty.
In response to this horrific act of violence, fueled by irrational, ignorant hatred, the community has come together in solidarity. Americans from different cultures and different religions are bonding through grief, and donating money to synagogue shooting victims. Muslim groups launched one crowdfunding campaign that has raised more than $145,000. The funds will be distributed to injured victims and grieving families to cover medical bills and funeral costs.
Celebrate Mercy and MPower Change, two Muslim non-profits, organized the campaign, which is hosted on LaunchGood, an online crowdfunding platform for the Muslim community. "We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action," they state on the Launchgood page. "Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, 'Show mercy to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens will show mercy to you.' The Quran also teaches us to 'Repel evil by that which is better.'"
The organizers invite people of all faiths to contribute, writing, "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."
"The Pittsburgh Muslim Community extends our deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims, their families, and all of our Jewish brothers and sisters," said The Islamic Center Of Pittsburgh, in a statement. "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."
In the wake of such a senseless act of violence, it's heartwarming to see Americans from different faiths unite for a good cause.