(RNS) — The hook was too appealing, as a news item and as an act of interfaith unity so many Americans were desperate to see: After 11 congregants of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh were killed in a horrific spray of bullets, Muslims raised more than $300,000 in support of their Jewish brethren.
The money was collected by Wasi Mohamed of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh and Tarek El-Messidi of Celebrate Mercy, an organization dedicated to honoring and educating others about the Prophet Muhammad (saw)*. These two remarkable men appreciate that one of the most immediate ways to help in a catastrophe is to cover the costs of those affected.
Mohamed and his fellow Pittsburgh Muslims raised more than $70,000 for the Tree of Life synagogue and its worshippers. Celebrate Mercy partnered with the Muslim political action organization MPower Change to come up with almost $240,000 more via a LaunchGood-hosted fundraising campaign. Their beautiful act of solidarity was heralded on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and on FOX News.
Fundraising efforts and other charitable acts like these can serve multiple purposes: Help those in need, provide anguished onlookers with opportunities to give back and change perceptions about marginalized groups. But they also live and die by publicity. How can money (or volunteers) be raised for any charitable cause if people don’t know what others are doing?
So we have hashtags, photos posted on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and other social media sites. Often there is a coordinated media campaign to draw attention to the plight of a particular tragedy or perhaps uplift a downtrodden group. How can we fund any charitable project or support our fellow humans if we don’t get the word out?
FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGION NEWS SERVICE