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US Muslim groups raise tens of thousands for synagogue shooting victims

Campaign reaches initial goal of $25,000 within six hours, its second goal of $50,000 after day, and is now targeting $100,000
Well-wishers lay flowers at site of mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Sunday (AFP)

A crowdfunding campaign by two Muslim American groups on Sunday had raised almost $80,000 for the surviving victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting a day before and the relatives of the 11 people who were killed.

The campaign on LaunchGood, a Muslim-focused crowdfunding site, reached its initial goal of $25,000 within six hours, its second goal of $50,000 after a day, and is now targeting $100,000, AFP said.

CelebrateMercy and MPower Change, Muslim-American non-profits, organised the fundraising drive in partnership with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh and the Tree of Life Synagogue, which will work together to distribute the funds to victims and their families, Time said on its website.

Tarek El-Messidi, founding director of CelebrateMercy, told Time the effort is part of his group’s larger belief in responding to hatred with acts of goodness.

“We recognize that the money can’t bring back loved ones that [families] have lost so tragically, nor can it physically heal any of the wounds,” El-Messidi said. “But we do hope the money can in some way lift their spirits, lift the burdens of funeral expenses and medical costs.”

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Fundraising proceeds will go towards meeting the short-term needs of the wounded victims and grieving families, including funeral expenses and medical bills.

"Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate and violence in America," the groups said in a statement.

"We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event," they added.