New Zealand’s Muslim community is receiving support from an American Jewish group that knows far too well the pain they are currently experiencing.
Last October, a crowdfunding campaign called “Muslims Unite for Pittsburgh Synagogue” raised over $200,000 to help the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Now, just over four months later, a Jewish group in Pittsburgh has launched its own campaign in support of New Zealand’s Muslim community, which was devastated by a similar attack on Friday.
“The Muslim-American community extends its hands to help the shooting victims, whether it is the injured victims or the Jewish families who have lost loved ones,” the Muslim coalition’s online campaign page stated last October. “We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.”
Now, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is returning the favor. The group started a campaign to “help people in need” following the attack on a pair of mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 50 people and wounded another 50.
In a statement on its website, Meryl Ainsman, the Jewish group’s board chair, said the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh stands in solidarity with the Muslim community in Christchurch.
“Unfortunately we are all too familiar with the devastating effect a mass shooting has on a faith community,” Ainsman said. “We are filled with grief over this senseless act of hate. May those who were injured heal quickly and fully, and may the memories of the victims forever be a blessing.”
As of Sunday evening, it is unclear how much money the Pittsburgh group has raised. David Guzikowski, its donor services associate, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The group is still working on identifying an international partner “so that your money goes directly to help,” the group’s website read.
A fundraising page has been setup and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is accepting checks from communities members that are sent to: 2000 Technology Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
Similar interfaith solidarity has taken place in the past. In 2017, for example, Muslims raised over $100,000 to repair a vandalized Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, and Jewish groups helped rebuild a Florida mosque that burned down in a mosque attack. Also in 2017, the leaders of a Jewish congregation in Victoria, Texas, handed the keys to their synagogue over to Muslim leaders after their mosque was burned down.