Muslim groups raise money for synagogue victims

Crowdfunding campaign by two US Muslim groups has raised almost $80,000 for surviving victims of Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Scene of Pittsburgh shooting
Scene of Pittsburgh shooting
Alexi Rosenfeld

A crowdfunding campaign by two Muslim American groups has raised almost $80,000 for the surviving victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the relatives of the 11 killed, AFP reported Sunday.

The campaign on LaunchGood reached its initial goal of $25,000 within six hours, its second goal of $50,000 after a day, and is now targeting $100,000.

The campaign was organized by CelebrateMercy and MPower Change, Muslim-American non-profits. The funds will be distributed by the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh.

"We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action," the groups said in a statement quoted by AFP.

"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," the groups said. "We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event."

Fundraising proceeds will go toward meeting the short-term needs of the injured victims and grieving families, including funeral expenses and medical bills, according to the report.

The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh condemned the attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue, saying in a statement on its website it denounces “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.”

“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 statement.

Earlier on Sunday, the 11 victims of Saturday’s deadly mass shooting attack were identified.

Eight men and three women were among the dead, authorities announced, including 71-year-old Dan Stein, 75-year-old Joyce Feinberg, 65-year-old Richard Gotfried, 97-year-old Rose Malinger, 66-year-old Jerry Rabinowitz, 59-year-old Cecil Rosenthal and his 54-year-old brother David Rosenthal, 84-year-old Bernice Simon, Bernice’s 86-year-old husband Sylvan Simon, 88-year-old Melvin Wax, and 69-year-old Irving Youngner.

The gunman, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, was reportedly inside the synagogue for roughly 20 minutes, shooting congregants and guests.

Bowers was armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and several handguns.

Investigators said they were treating the mass-shooting as a hate crime, and confirmed Sunday that Bowers had made anti-Semitic statements and expressed a desire to massacre Jews during the 20-minute shooting attack.

"During the course of his deadly assault on the people of the synagogue, Bowers made statements regarding genocide and his desire to kill Jewish people," US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania Scott Brady said.