Last Week, 11 Jews were shot outside of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg.

Recently, two Muslim organizations, Celebrate Mercy and MPower Change have partnered to create a fundraising page for victims and families affected by the shooting.

Within six hours, the  Muslims Unite for Pittsburgh Synagogue reached it’s initial goal of $25,000.

On the fundraising page, Muslim-American speaker and activist Tarek El-Messidi wrote:

“We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us and send a powerful message of compassion through action.” He also quoted the Koran stating, “repel evil by that which is better.”

The purpose of the fundraiser is to meet the needs of the injured victims and grieving families. The funds will also go toward funeral expenses and medical bills.

“No amount of money will bring back their loved ones, but we do hope to lessen their burden in some way,” wrote El Messidi.

According to El Messidi who started the Muslim crowdfunding site called Launchgood, said 70% of people are Muslim while the other percentage make up those with different religious backgrounds.

He believes an attack on one religion is an attack on people from all backgrounds.

“In religion, we’re all worshipping a higher power, especially with our Jewish cousins,” El Messidi said.

“We share a lot theologically with the Jewish community and a foundational teaching is you never harm religious spaces — regardless if it’s a mosque, a temple, or church. One should never be worried about being harmed or killed in a place of worship.”

Despite a troubled world, from El Messidi’s perspective, he still believes responding to evil with good is an effective method.

“People have much more good than they have evil,” he said. “People are generally good-hearted and peaceful. When people get to know each other, things like this don’t happen.”

From a New York Times article, there have been dozens of candlelight vigils to show cohesion with the synagogue. Blood banks have also stayed open late to accommodate the crowd of donors.

Shay Khatiri, an Irianian-American man from Washington, DC created a Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds for the synagogue as well. In six days it has raised over $1 million. He said the donor page had similar results to the Launch Good Page.

“There are Steins and Bergs, and there are Mohammads. There are generic American names and there are Asian ones,” Khatiri said. “It is only fitting that Americans of all backgrounds — immigrant, native-born, Jewish, atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, etc. — are unfitting against this hateful act. America is beautiful!”

Ryan Chumberger, a supporter for Khatiri’s campaign wrote, “This is the least I can do to express my sympathy for the Jewish community and the Jewish people who have touched my life. You are a light in the world which will not be snuffed out by the jealous and hateful. We need to stand together against this and all attacks on our freedom to be ourselves and follow our conscience.”

Overall, The Launch Good campaign and other campaigns share this initial goal: 

“While those senseless acts have filled us with sorrow, we reflect on the message of unity, tolerance, and mutual protection found in the Constitution of Medina: a historical social contract between the Medinan Jews and the first Muslim community. We are also inspired by the example of our Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, who stood up to pay respects for a passing funeral procession. When questioned on why he stood for a Jewish funeral, he responded, ‘is it not a human soul?’”

Chiara Elena will plan to graduate in May 2019 with a B.S. in English: Journalism and minors in writing and biblical studies. She has written for Corban University's "Hilltop News" and the Odyssey Online. When she is not writing articles, she adores writing short stories and poetry. She is also working on a novel right now. When not writing, she enjoys reading, hiking, swimming, walks on the beach, adventuring, making music, giving back to special needs children and those experiencing homelessness, and spending time with family and friends.