American Muslims Raise $208,000 for San Bernardino Victims

On December 2, 2015 a Muslim couple murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, California and injured another 17 in a mass shooting. Today, Muslim Americans are coming together to give back.

I am Americans - (Image Source VirtueCenter),
I am Americans - (Image Source VirtueCenter)

On December 2, 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, entered the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California and started shooting. The couple was later killed in an altercation with the authorities, but the mass shooting left 14 people dead and at least 17 others injured.

It is still unclear whether or not the married couple had ties to foreign terrorist organizations. We do know that Farook and Malik had been planning the attacks prior to their marriage over a year ago. The likely personal and political motives seem to be mixed.

As expected, the shooting has spurred debate. Which is what happens in America. We debate. We send thoughts and prayers in a tweet and wait thirty seconds before campaigning for stricter gun control, easier access to weaponry in order to fight back, stricter border control, and/or criticism of policies that would criminalize religion and race.

And it’s not just politicians, journalists, and corporations with financial interests on the line getting involved. Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram are rife with talkers. Social media is full of re-posters, of memes drawing political lines, of overlays to profile pictures that promote “solidarity.”

Solidarity. It’s a nice word and it’s not helping anyone.

And, sure, education is important. Statistics mean something. They speak to a broken system that’s not just letting people fall through the cracks, but is getting people killed.

But there are families in California that expected husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers to come home that are still waiting.

And when there’s that much emotion, grief, and fear behind an issue, freedom gets traded for security without reading the fine print. People are prosecuted without a trial. The Holocaust. Japanese Internment Camps. McCarthy’s Communist Witch Hunt.

President Barack Obama. Tom Brokaw. Bernie Sanders. We’ve seen the pleas from the big names to be cautious and to condemn acts of terror and the radical groups that are committing them, not the people who look like them, who read the same book and take away a very different message. But there are still people reposting and memeing and ranting asking, “where are the muslims condemning these actions?” What they mean is, “isn’t our prejudice justifiable?”

The question shouldn’t merit an answer. In another time and place, it wouldn’t merit an answer. But people are scared and want evidence that Islam is not evil in itself.

American Muslims have raised over $207,000 for the victims of the San Bernardino shooting.

I’ll say it again for the people in the back.

American Muslims have raised over $207,000 for the victims of the San Bernardino shooting.

The collective of American Muslim leaders and groups, initiated by Dr. Faisal Qazi, began the fundraiser as they felt emotionally connected to the grieving families and strived to aid with short-term financial needs of the people directly affected by the mass shooting. They do so with only one agenda: to help the families affected by this tragedy, because that is what the Quran teaches: “Repel evil by that which is better.” (41:34).

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Sam Ferrante is a poet, editor, facilitator, and writer born on Long Island, college-fed in Western New York and Paris, and then poetically raised in Buffalo, NY; Ireland; and Australia. A former member of the Pure Ink Poetry team in Buffalo and a regular competitor in Dublin's Slam Sunday, Sam was a Co-Creative Producer at Melbourne-based Slamalamadingdong in addition to serving on the Melbourne Spoken Word Committee. Sam has been published in Ghost City Press, Blowing Raspberries, and The Dirty Thirty Anthology and has been featured at The Owl & Cat Session, La Mama Poetica, Girls on Key, and White Night 2016 among others. Her debut book of poetry, Pick Me Up, got rave reviews from her Mom. She is currently the Editor of CrowdInk.