Six days have passed since 14 people were killed and 17 injured at a social services center in San Bernardino, California. And five days have passed since Muslim groups and leaders from across the nation united to help raise nearly $100,000 for the victims' families.
Faisal Qazi, a neurologist and the co-founder of the family centered development organization MiNDS, and Tarek El-Messidi, co-founder of the Islamic nonprofit CelebrateMercy, joined forces to start the donation fund on LaunchGood Thursday, with a goal of combating hate with love. Their mission: to raise money for the families of the 14 victims killed during a shooting at the Inland Regional Center by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. FBI investigators said Monday that the couple had been radicalized by the Islamic State.
We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action. Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: "Have mercy to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens (God) will have mercy upon you." And the Quran teaches to "Repel evil by that which is better" (41:34).
Groups like MECASoCal and the Islamic Networks Group, as well as prominent national Muslim leaders, put their names on the fund, which raised more than $88,000 by Tuesday evening. El-Messidi told The Huffington Post the money will go to the San Bernardino families in batches.
"We're planning within a week to give the first batch of donations to the families so it can help with more short-term immediate expenses," he said. "The idea is to help alleviate the burden on the families, potentially funeral expenses and whatnot. We know no amount of money will bring back their loved ones, but hopefully this will make things a little easier for them."
El-Messidi said he hopes the fund will send a message about the Muslim community.
"I think it sends a clear message that American Muslims are here to build and not destroy," he told HuffPost. "We do not want to be associated at all with extremists who are putting people in harm's way, and we want to show this as just one example of how American Muslims are contributors to society, trying to make our society a better place. ... We are hoping in this time of crises, those who are Muslim and those who are not will get to know each other. Dialogue is the only way to clear up this state of confusion and tension."
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