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After eight predominantly black churches burned in the wake of the Charleston church massacre, a group of friends decided to help those churches rebuild as a Ramadan project they are calling #RespondWithLove.
“We wanted to show that as a Muslim community, their pain did not go unnoticed by us—that we did, if fact, feel deeply for their loss,” Faatimah Knight, one of the organizers and an alumna of Zaytuna College, told NBC News. “The Muslim community and the Black community are connected in integral ways, one cannot tell the story of one in America without telling the story of the other. We hope that these churches might stand tall again as a testament to the power of human goodness over human vileness and to one day be a place where God’s name is oft-remembered.”
Using LaunchGood, a Muslim-run crowdfunding platform for ethically sound projects, Knight said they hoped to tap into “the notoriously generous Ramadan spirit that is infectious among Muslims this time of year.” They reached their $20,000 goal in two and a half days, with two more weeks remaining.
The idea for #RespondWithLove grew out of an earlier fundraising effort by Knight’s family, “From Muslims to Emanuel AME Church, with Love,” which raised money “to send a train of flowers to the surviving families of the Charleston church massacre, as well as to the church itself.”