A crowdfunding campaign supported by a coalition of Muslim community groups has raised nearly $200,000 as of Friday afternoon. It was spearheaded by Dr. Faisal Qazi, a Muslim neurologist who began the fund before knowing the two attackers were radicalized.
“I was at work and my office is not too far from this site where the incident was. When we first heard it, we were all concerned because I had my own patient families that received services at the Inland Regional Center,” Dr. Faisal said.
On December 2, 14 people were killed and 22 more were injured after two gunmen opened fire at the center that serves people with developmental disabilities.
Originally Dr. Qazi and the MiNDS Network set out to raise $20,000. But groups from the local community and across the nation have backed the fund on the LaunchGood crowdfunding site.
Dr. Qazi and the MiNDS network decided to postpone announcing that they set up a fund for the families of the victims of the San Bernardino when they learned the perpetrators were, in fact, Muslim. Dr. Qazi said they feared initial public backlash. And while the project has found wide-ranging support, Dr. Qazi said it has been difficult to show people that the vast majority of the American Muslim community does not support the acts of terrorist.
“You can do a Google search and you’ll have all sorts of Muslim leaders and organisations that have out-rightly condemned and stand up against extremism,” Dr. Qazi said. “For some reason that message, honestly, is not sticking.”
Dr. Qazi also said the current political climate in America does not help combat negative stereotypes about Muslims.
“I don’t know how, and I don’t understand how hateful commentary and constantly bashing on the American-Muslim community will help make Mr. Trump make America great. I just don’t get it,” Dr. Qazi said.
Still he said he will continue to show that he and the Muslim community are dedicated to helping the community in southern California.
“Our job is to demonstrate love, show compassion, and continue to serve our fellow man,” Dr. Qazi said. “It’s giving a clear and explicit message to ISIS, or any fringe and extremist groups like that, that our community will not let them, or their kind, define our faith.”
Story and editing by Andrew Fowler
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