Why Muslims are raising money for black churches destroyed by fire

Muslim organizations have joined together to raise money for eight black churches that have been destroyed by fire since the nine murders in Charleston, S.C. last month. The campaign coincides with Ramadan, a time of greater charity in the Muslim faith. 

Todd Bennett/AP/The Augusta Chronicle
Investigators use a ladder truck to get a bird's eye view as they try to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed the Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, S.C. The FBI joined other police agencies in investigating the blaze that destroyed the predominantly black church in Aiken County.

Three Muslim organizations have banded together to raise money for eight black churches that have been destroyed by fire after nine people were shot and killed in a Charleston, S.C. church on June 17.

“To many it is clear that these are attacks on Black culture, Black religion and Black lives,” the organizers of the fundraiser say on the campaign web page

Four of the eight churches have been ruled arson and are being investigated. Three others are being investigated for possible arson. 

“We must always keep in mind that the Muslim community and the black community are not different communities. We are profoundly integrated in many ways, in our overlapping identities and in our relationship to this great and complicated country,” the campaign page, organized by MuslimARC, the Arab-American Association of New York, and Ummah Wide, a digital media startup focused on Muslim issues, says.

The campaign is being crowdfunded (that is, any given amount donated by lots of different people toward a larger goal) on a website called LaunchGood.

“We believe that Muslims have incredible values to share with the rest of the world and LaunchGood is a manifestation of the impact that Muslims can have when they rally together for good,” co-founder Amany Killawi said in an email.

Since the campaign to raise money for the churches launched on July 2, the effort has raised $24,065, as of this writing, toward a $25,000 goal from 546 supporters. The campaign has 10 days to go. The organizers say on the campaign page that funds will be routed to the churches most in need through direct contact with pastors and church leaders.

“It's Ramadan and we are experiencing firsthand the beauty and sanctity of our mosques during this holy month,” Imam Zaid Shakir, a Muslim American scholar, says on the campaign page. “ALL houses of worship are sanctuaries."

Mr. Shakir says that there has not been anywhere near the amount of resources amassed to help rebuild the churches. 

“We created LaunchGood as platform to support Muslims launching good across the globe, which is not limited to the Muslim community only,” Ms. Killawi said. She pointed out that the campaign to help rebuild black churches launched during the month of Ramadan which is “a time of increased generosity for Muslims worldwide.”

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