Muslims showed their support for San Bernardino shooting victims by launching an initiative that aims to raise $50,000 to help victims recover from the tragedy.
Currently, the initiative entitled “Muslims United for San Bernardino” has raised almost $30,000 in just two days.
Faisal Qazi, Medical Network Devoted to Service (MiNDS) president, and Tarek El-Messidi, a “social entrepreneur,” launched the campaign on Friday, which has since gained a huge following and support from Muslim groups across the country.
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MiNDS is a charitable institution based in Southern California. It has received recognition and awards for a few previous projects. Some of the Muslim groups that have showed their support for “Muslims United for San Bernardino” include the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California (ISCSC), and the CAIR, or the Council of American Islamic Relations.
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“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,” the campaign mentioned.
Qazi said in an interview that the victims of the San Bernardino shootings are “our people” and that it is the people’s obligation to show support for the victim’s families and be there for them “in the short and long term.”
Qaza also added that the initiative was launched even before authorities found out that the two San Bernardino shooting suspects were Muslims. The MiNDS president explained that the campaign began a day after the shooting.
Later on, he said that the crowdsourcing initiative turned into a national campaign, upon the advice of Muslim scholars.
ISCSC Chairman Muzammil Siddiqi commended the effort to raise money for the victims, and called for every Muslim to contribute.
Siddiqi also said that they are willing to share not only their condolences and words of sympathy, but also concrete acts of kindness and compassion.
On Wednesday, 14 people were killed, while 17 people were injured when two people opened fire in a conference hall at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.
The San Bernardino shooting incident, which took place at about 11:00 a.m., was reportedly aimed at county employees in the center.
The two suspects, Syed Farook, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were allegedly responsible for the shooting and used semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic pistols, and an explosive device.
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Farook and Malik reportedly fled the scene in an SUV, although police were able to pursue their vehicle a few hours later. The suspects were killed in a shootout. It was later found out that both of them were Muslims, whose views have reportedly been radicalized in the U.S. The San Bernardino shooting is considered to be the deadliest attack on U.S. soil since the 2011 terrorist attacks in New York City. Police investigations are still ongoing as they search the house of one of the suspects’ neighbors, who may have something to do with the shooting.
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Al Jazeera reported that Muslims in Southern California were “devastated” when they found out that the suspects of the San Bernardino shooting shared their faith. Some Muslims reportedly expressed fear of possible backlash against them due to the tragic incident.
However, Muslims still showed their support in an inter-faith solidarity event held on Saturday night at the Islamic Center of Inland Empire in Rancho Cucamonga.
The event was attended by about 100 people, which included some Muslims, residents in the area, and even some politicians.
Masood Kahn, a member of the center, said that the tragic incident calls for different faith groups to build “bridges of peace.”
Even before the gathering, the Islamic Center had reportedly raised $5,000 to help the San Bernardino shooting victims and their families.
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]