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“Muslims Unite” Campaign Passes $200,000 in Donations for Victims

The effort to raise money for Tree of Life Congregation has drawn worldwide donations.

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Since Saturday afternoon, a fundraising campaign organized by local Muslim-American groups has raised more than $200,000 to benefit Tree of Life Congregation.

Wasi Mohamed, the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh’s executive director, told Pittsburgh Magazine that he and others throughout the local Muslim community began making calls and raising funds as soon as they heard about Saturday’s attack. “We’re very close to the community there; we’ve had strong relationships for a long time,” Mohamed (pictured above) says. “It’s not like there are no relationships between the Muslim and Jewish communities in Pittsburgh. I didn’t have to look up numbers; they were in my phone.”

After coordinating with a number of other organizations — including Celebrate Mercy, MPower Change, and Emgage, among others — Mohamed offered his help, both in fundraising and in-person support, to the Jewish community in a press conference that has received national attention. Mohamed says that the national attention given that conference — where he offered to arrange for members of the Muslim community to stand guard outside synagogues, if congregations wished to have them — turned a local fundraising effort into a global one, with donations coming in from more than 5,000 donors the world over.

The current plan, Mohamed says, is to “disperse all the funds to Tree of Life, unless they request something different.” He hopes that the funds can be used to help victims’ families cover immediate needs and expenses in the aftermath of the attack.

“I know not everybody expected the Muslim community to be first in line to help,” Mohamed says. “We hoped it would help [the Jewish community to see] that everyone wants them to be here. Everyone values their contributions to Pittsburgh, to America and to our democracy.”

With incidents of hate crimes and speech on the rise in the past few years, Mohamed stresses the need for communities to come together and stand in solidarity. “These attacks against Muslims and Jewish communities, and other minorities, are all related. The political climate is very, very toxic right now ... Negative discourse leads to people getting hurt on the ground. That happens.”

Mohamed and other representatives of the Islamic Center have been in attendance at each funeral held thus far and plan to attend this weekend’s services at congregations throughout Pittsburgh. Donations are still being accepted via a LaunchGood campaign; money from early donations is already being distributed.

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