Faisal Qazi had no idea the shooters who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino last week were Muslims, like himself. The Pomona-based neurologist only knew that the victims and their families were his Inland Empire neighbors, and his faith obligated him to help.Qazi started small, hoping to raise $20,000 through his health nonprofit. But Islamic scholars and leaders urged him to broaden the effort – especially after it was revealed that the assailants were Muslims — and the campaign quickly became the most successful crowd-funding venture Muslim Americans have ever launched for the broader community.
In just four days, the Muslims United for San Bernardino campaign has raised more than $100,000 from more than 1,000 donors across the country, including in Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The money will be disbursed through San Bernardino County and the United Way to assist victims’ families with funeral expenses and other needs, Qazi said.
In addition to this group’s efforts, the LA Times reports that leading Islamic scholars also urged their followers to help with the campaign’s fund-raising efforts:
Several leading Islamic scholars also pitched the campaign in their Friday sermons last week.“Since 9/11, we’ve felt we need to come out of our cocoons,” said Shaykh Mohammed Faqih of the Islamic Institute of Orange County. “We’re as American as anyone else … but if society is not feeling it, it means I’m not doing enough.”Donors include Marya Ayloush, a 20-year-old student at Santa Monica Community College who gave $50 after seeing the campaign posted on Facebook. “This is an actual, tangible action we can do to show non-Muslims that we have your back,” she said. “In every situation where the terrorist happens to be a Muslim, every person, whether they admit it or not, is afraid they’ll be lumped in with these guys.”