Muslims crowdfund for victims of Pittsburgh synagogue attack

Crowdfunding has become a go-to effort for relief following hate crimes and mass shootings in the US.

    US Muslim-American community raise tens of thousands of dollars for victims of shooting attack [Cathal McNaughton/ Reuters]
    US Muslim-American community raise tens of thousands of dollars for victims of shooting attack [Cathal McNaughton/ Reuters]

    The Muslim-American community has raised tens of thousands of dollars in a crowdfunding effort to help the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that left at least 11 people dead and six wounded.

    The campaign, which is hosted by Muslim crowdfunding site LaunchGood, aims to help shooting victims, "whether it is the injured victims or the Jewish families who have lost loved ones".

    It was started by Tarek El-Messidi, a Muslim-American speaker and founder of CelebrateMercy, a nonprofit organisation that "teaches about the Prophet Muhammad's life and character".

    According to an update the campaign's page, its original goal of $25,000 was raised in "only" six hours. The goal has now been extended to $50,000, with nine days left. At the time of publication on Sunday, the sum had exceeded $43,000.

    Robert Bowers, 48, has been named as the suspect in Saturday's mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighbourhood. He has been charged with 29 offences, including hate crimes.

    According to the Allegheny County medical examiners' office, the 11 people killed in the synagogue included a married couple, Bernice and Sylvan Simon, and two brothers, Cecil and David Rosenthal.

    David Rosenthal was the youngest at 54. The eldest was 97-year-old Rose Mallinger.

    The dead also included Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Jerry Rabinowitz, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax and Irving Younger.

    More donations

    Another fundraising campaign was started on GoFundMe by Shay Khatiri, an Iranian who currently lives in Washington, DC, according to his profile on the website.

    Khatiri, who appears not to have any direct connection to Pittsburgh, tweeted that his reason for starting the campaign was that he wanted to donate.

    He said his "donation would be too little to make any change, but I could make a viral campaign" in response to questions about his motivations.

    The GoFundMe campaign has raised over $247,000, well over its original goal of $100,000. It has has extended its goal to $1m.

    The Tree of Life synagogue is also accepting donations on its website, according to a post on the GoFundMe page. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News