Faatimah Knight, a Muslim student at Chicago Theological Seminary, is breaking down religious barriers in order to help rebuild the eight southern Black churches recently set ablaze. Within a ten-day span, several Black churches were burned down in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and both Carolinas. Respond with Love is theLaunchGood campaign set up by Ms. Knight to help rebuild the churches destroyed following the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. With three days left in the campaign, Faatimah, along with Ummah Wide, Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative and the Arab American Association of New York have raised $81,741 of their $100,000 goal in just 12 days.
“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… 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.”- Faatimah Knight to NBC News
Faatimah and her friends initially set out to raise just $500 to send flowers to Emanuel AME Church, but overshot their goal when they ended up raising $900. From there, the LaunchGood campaign was established and has garnered the attention of many influential social media outlets– Mashable, BuzzFeed and Yahoo!, just to name a few. Such a response from a community that experiences similar unfair and even barbaric treatment is not only heartwarming, but also a symbolic gesture of love and support for all those who wish to divide us.
“And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.” [Surah al-Hajj (20): 40]
Unity likes this is important now, at a time when acts of terrorism and racism cause us to question the humanity of those around us– as victims and as villains. Now is a great time to strengthen the ties that bind us to this earth. There are only a couple of days left in Faatimah’s campaign, but I encourage you to look into ways you and your community can help out as well!
“As a whole, however, we understand the climate of racially inspired hate and bigotry that is being reignited in this country. We want to let our African American brothers and sisters know that we stand in solidarity with them during this dark hour. As a small symbol of that solidarity, during this blessed month of Ramadan, we are gathering donations to help rebuild the seven churches that have been burned down since the racist murders in Charleston, South Carolina.” -Imam Zaid Shakir