Via LA Times:
Faisal Qazi had no idea the shooters who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino last week were Muslims, like himself. The Pomona-based neurologist only knew that the victims and their families were his Inland Empire neighbors, and his faith obligated him to help.
Qazi started small, hoping to raise $20,000 through his health nonprofit. But Islamic scholars and leaders urged him to broaden the effort – especially after it was revealed that the assailants were Muslims — and the campaign quickly became the most successful crowd-funding venture Muslim Americans have ever launched for the broader community.
In just four days, the Muslims United for San Bernardino campaign has raised more than $100,000 from more than 1,000 donors across the country, including in Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The money will be disbursed through San Bernardino County and the United Way to assist victims’ families with funeral expenses and other needs, Qazi said.
“The American Muslim community has had extensive and intense conversations in the last decade about our role in society,” said Qazi, 41. “What you’re seeing is the coming of a new generation of American Muslims being emotionally and physically invested in whatever transpires in society.”
The crowd-funding website itself is a case in point. LaunchGood was started two years ago by Chris Blauvelt, a Detroit resident who converted to Islam three months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“After 9/11, we had a rude awakening,” Blauvelt said. “We realized we had to do more than get good jobs as doctors and engineers and buy houses in the suburbs. We have to give back to the communities we live in, the American community.”