American Muslims are helping black churches rebuild after outbreak of fires

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A trifecta of Muslim organizations has come together to raise money to rebuild worship centers in Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina that were destroyed by fires in the past month.

The “Respond With Love” campaign, organized by the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, the Arab-American Association of New York and Ummah Wide during the holy month of Ramadan, has raised close to $25,000 with the help of more than 500 individual supporters.

It is their goal to bring hope to Christian communities in the South after an outbreak of fires destroyed their places of worship.

Linda Sarsour, executive director of AAANY, says she doesn’t believe these fires can be discussed without remembering periods in history when black churches were targets of arson.

“It doesn’t matter to us how or why these churches burned down, we want to help our Black sisters and brothers get back in to their houses of worship as soon as they can,” she wrote in an email. “Ramadan is a time of giving and what better cause to give to than one that rebuilds houses of worship where God’s name is constantly called, remembered and loved.”

Sarsour says the collective will be looking at ways to distribute the funds that will have maximum impact, such as providing relief for some churches on the list that don’t have adequate insurance.

“ALL houses of worship are sanctuaries, a place where all should feel safe, a place we can seek refuge when the world is too much to bear,” the campaign organizers wrote on their fundraising page. “We want for others what we want for ourselves: the right to worship without intimidation, the right to safety, and the right to property.”

The campaign will stay open until July 18, around the time that Ramadan is expected to end.