A crowdfunding campaign started by a coalition of Muslim groups has raised over $50,000 to help rebuild black churches that have been damaged by fire in recent weeks across the Southern United States.
Fire damage has occurred in at least eight black churches since the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting that claimed the lives of nine black parishioners, reports Al Jazeera. The churches were burned within 10 days of one another, and arson investigations are being conducted in three of the cases.
In order to try and help the black churches rebuild, the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, Arab American Association of New York, and digital startup Ummah Wide joined together and started a LaunchGood campaign called “Respond with Love: Rebuild Black Churches, Support Victims of Arson across the South."
“[It's] Ramadan and we are experiencing firsthand the beauty and sanctity of our mosques during this holy month," the LaunchGood campaign page reads. "ALL houses of worship are sanctuaries, a place where all should feel safe, a place we can seek refuge when the world is too much to bear.
"We are calling on you to help add our support to faith communities across the country pooling their resources to rebuild these churches. There has not been anywhere near the amount of resources needed to rebuild these churches.
"The time is now, let's unite to help our sisters and brothers in faith."
The campaign site goes on to discuss how the Muslim community and black community are intertwined in America.
“We must always keep in mind that the Muslim community and the black community are not different communities," the site reads. "We are profoundly integrated in many ways, in our overlapping identities and in our relationship to this great and complicated country.
"We are connected to Black churches through our extended families, our friends and teachers, and our intertwined histories and convergent present. Too often cowards inflict us with a crippling fear, but with encouragement and support from likely and unlikely places fear cannot stop us."
The original goal for the campaign was $10,000, reports CNN. It surpassed that amount just 12 hours after the campaign launched.
“…Nearly broke the @LaunchGood servers!” read a post on the campaign’s Facebook page.
The campaign has since adjusted its initial goal and it is now set at $75,000 — to date is has raised over $50,000 with eight days left.
"The response has been overwhelmingly supportive," Faatimah Knight, the 23-year-old theology student who helped start the campaign, told CNN. "There have been a few people who were confused about why Muslims would rebuild a church, but for the most part people are totally on board."
Photo Source: LaunchGood, CNN Screenshot