Tree Of Life Synagogue’s GoFundMe Raises $22,000 For New Zealand Mosque Victims

A vigil for Christchurch victims
Hannah Peters / Getty Images

The Pittsburgh synagogue that was attacked last October by a murderous anti-Semitic gunman has come together to raise funds for the victims of last weekend’s attack on a pair of mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The GoFundMe campaign, which is called “Tree of Life Stands with the Christchurch Mosques,” was launched by The Tree of Life Congregation, and it raised $22,851 in its first day, with of a goal of $100,000. The donations came from 470 donors.

The purpose of the effort is to “support the victims and their families of the mosque shootings in Christchurch, in an effort to comfort the suffering Muslim community there and promote its recovery,” the GoFundMe campaign says.

Following the Pittsburgh massacre on October 27 of last year, in which 11 worshippers were killed and many more injured, GoFundMe efforts were launched to assist the victims, with one such campaign raising $1.2 million.

“We stand beside our Muslim brothers and sisters and mourn alongside the families and friends who have lost loved ones in this unconscionable act of violence,” the campaign description says. “We will continue to work towards a day when all people on this planet can live together in peace and mutual respect.”

The New Zealand shootings also took place during prayer services at a pair of mosques, the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Center. While the New Zealand attack was much deadlier, with 50 people killed, the two had much in common: Both accused shooters were white supremacist extremists, motivated at least in part by hatred of the religious minority in question.

The accused shooter in Christchurch is 28-year-old Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, who had issued an elaborate manifesto in which he laid out his political beliefs. Tarrant seemed heavily influenced by right-wing extremist discourse of the modern era, although some observers have argued that the manifesto is an attempt of irony or misdirection on the part of the accused perpetrator.

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The accused Pittsburgh shooter, Robert Gregory Bowers, had made social media posts of his own, most notably one in which he criticized the Jewish community for their support of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS.) Bowers was also critical in his posts of the “caravan” of migrants that was reportedly headed to the U.S. at the time.

According to the campaign site, the funds raised by the campaign are currently being held by the U.S. charity known as The Direct Impact Fund, and will eventually be transferred to “an organization authorized to provide support to the Christchurch families and community.”