Following the San Bernardino shooting that left over a dozen dead, a group of American Muslims has responded in an awesome way: raising money for the victims of the shooting. And not a little bit, either:
Faisal Qazi, a neurologist and the co-founder of the family centered development organization MiNDS, and Tarek El-Messidi, co-founder of the Islamic nonprofit CelebrateMercy, joined forces to start the donation fund on LaunchGood Thursday, with a goal of combating hate with love.
Their reasons for doing this are straightforward and a wonderful example of people inspired by their faith to help other people, in direct contrast to those (hello, Donald Trump) who are quick to treat all Muslims as terrorists:
We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action. Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “Have mercy to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens (God) will have mercy upon you.” And the Quran teaches to “Repel evil by that which is better” (41:34).
All fundraising proceeds will help with the immediate, short-term needs of the grieving families. No amount of money will bring back their loved ones, but we do hope to lessen their burden in some way. If we exceed the $50,000 goal, we can even assist the families with long-term expenses or possibly donate to the regional center where the shooting took place. With millions of Muslims in America, we hope this fund continues to grow far beyond its initial goal.
It certainly has — as of this writing, the fund is at nearly $160,000 dollars, with a new goal of $175,000.
Campaign co-founder El-Messidi is hopeful that, aside from aiding those immediately impacted by the loss of loved ones, the effort will serve as a bridge builder.
“I think it sends a clear message that American Muslims are here to build and not destroy,” he told HuffPost. “We do not want to be associated at all with extremists who are putting people in harm’s way, and we want to show this as just one example of how American Muslims are contributors to society, trying to make our society a better place.… We are hoping in this time of crises, those who are Muslim and those who are not will get to know each other. Dialogue is the only way to clear up this state of confusion and tension.”
It’s ridiculous to expect Muslim practitioners to answer for acts of violence committed by wholly unrelated people solely on the basis of belief in the same God (it’s certainly not something we expect of Christians or other faith groups), but we nonetheless always hear people asking, “Where are the moderates?!” after tragedies like this.
I can only hope those serial questioners are paying attention to this display of generosity and kindness.