Muslim organisations help rebuild Christian churches

respond with love
A network of Muslim organisations in the United States have raised more than $28,000 to rebuild African-American churches burnt down in the aftermath of the Charleston shootings.

Eight churches suffered fire damage in the span of 10 days and police confirmed at least three of them were lit by arsonists. The FBI is currently investigating the fires to determine if they were hate crimes.

There have been almost 100 violent attacks on African-American Churches in the past 50 years.

In a powerful display of interfaith unity, Muslim organisations launched an online fundraising campaign to help rebuild the churches.

The ‘Respond with Love’ campaign, organised by the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, the Arab-American Association of New York and Ummah Wide, has raised more than $28,000 in five days.

It is currently the holy month of Ramadan and the campaign calls on supporters to recognise all houses of worship as places of sanctuary.

Islamic scholar Imam Zaid Shakir explained on the crowdfunding page why the Muslim community is raising money to rebuild the churches.

“We want to let our African American brothers and sisters know that we stand in solidarity with them during this dark hour,” said Mr Shakir.

“The American Muslim community cannot claim to have experienced anything close to the systematic and institutionalized racism and racist violence that has been visited upon African Americans.

“We do, however, understand the climate of racially inspired hate and bigotry that is being reignited in this country.”

April Robinson from the synod’s Uniting Through Faiths unit praised the campaign for promoting solidarity against religious and racial discrimination.

“Uniting Through Faiths knows that the most effective way of ‘doing’ interfaith or intercultural work is by building relationships and asking those who are being unfairly targeted what they need,” Ms Robinson said.

“The ‘Respond with Love’ campaign has used the Ramadan tradition of Zakat (where parts of your earnings are donated to charity) to build a relationship with love, respect and the right for everyone to have a place of worship, not matter what religion.”

The campaign will run until 18 July, which is when Ramadan will end. Supporters can donate to the project at the ‘Respond With Love’ crowdfunding page.

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