After the tragic terrorist attack in San Bernardino, there was a lot of talk.

Talk about all sorts of things — from people sending "thoughts and prayers" (and people questioning if that was enough) to debates on guns (and debates about debates on guns) to presidential candidates touting anti-Muslim rhetoric (and others criticizing said rhetoric). It seems social media has become a bottomless pit of people talking over each other.

As important as it is that we talk about how to prevent other attacks like the one in San Bernardino, and how to prevent people from buying weapons without background checks, and that we question how something like this happened in the first place, there's another conversation that needs to happen. And that's the question of who helps and how do we help the families of the victims and survivors pick the pieces of their lives back up in the wake of such life-changing tragedy.


Just one day after the shooting in San Bernardino, a group of Muslim Americans decided to have that conversation.

California-based neurologist and president of MiNDS Network Faisal Qazi along with Tarek El-Messidi, founder of CelebrateMercy, decided they would try to raise money to assist with the immediate needs of the victims' families.

Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Qazi and El-Messidi created Muslims United for San Bernardino and started with a goal of raising $50,000.

Aaaaaand as of this writing, they've raised more than $173,000 from over 1,400 donors.

With 20 days left in the campaign, the numbers keep growing, and it's so heartwarming to see. More than 15 Muslim groups have endorsed the initiative so far, and with almost three weeks left to fundraise, who knows what that ending amount will be ... besides huge.

It'd be an admirable contribution from any group, but it is especially significant coming from Muslim Americans.

Image by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

That isn't to say that Muslim Americans have a responsibility to prove they aren't terrorists or to defend their religion any more than Christians should have to in the wake of terrorist attacks carried out by extremist Christians.

“When the leading Republican presidential candidate can say, ‘Bar all Muslims coming to America’ and know he can get more support for it — it is truly frightening," Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council for American-Islamic Relations, told USA Today.

But between the Paris attacks, the mass shooting in San Bernardino, and politically driven Islamophobia being pushed by presidential candidates in the United States, verbal and physical attacks on Muslims are on the rise. A campaign like this helps those who buy into anti-Muslim rhetoric see that Muslim Americans are as patriotic and caring as Americans of any other religion.

"This united American Muslim campaign aims to reclaim our faith from extremists by responding to evil with good, by rebuilding what they destroy," El-Messidi said in a press release. "We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action."

100% of the funds they raise will go to the families of the San Bernardino victims.

Image by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

The funds will be disbursed through San Bernardino County and United Way to assist victims' families with funeral expenses and other needs, according to the Los Angeles Times.

No amount of money can bring back the loved ones lost. But it can, at least, help lift some of the financial and emotional burdens in the wake of such a deplorable tragedy, and that's what they're trying to do.


When terrorist attacks happen, it's easy to give in to feelings fear and division. This campaign shows that we will always be stronger when we are united together.

You don't have to share the same beliefs or religion to share the same values as someone else. As Qazi says:

"We are hoping in this time of crises, those who are Muslim and those who are not will get to know each other. Dialogue is the only way to clear up this state of confusion and tension."


Image by Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images.

He's so right. And it's a message we should all take with us wherever we go.

Let's Do More Together

A Boston couple moved into a new place the week of lockdown. Here’s how they kept their sanity.

The new litmus test for domestic partnerships? A pandemic.

For medical workers in a pandemic, protecting loved ones can be tricky.

To support this effort and other programs like it, all you have to do is keep doing what you're doing — like shopping for laundry detergent. Turn your everyday actions into acts of good every day at P&G Good Everyday.

True

When Jonathan Irons was 16, he was put on trial for burglary and assault with a weapon. According to CBS Sports, Irons was tried as adult, and an all-white jury found him guilty—despite there being no witnesses, no fingerprints, no footprints, and no DNA proving his guilt.

Irons began his 50-year sentence in a Missouri state prison in 1998. Now, 22 years later, he's a free man, largely thanks to the tireless efforts of a WNBA superstar.

Maya Moore is arguably the most decorated professional women's basketball player in the U.S. A first-round draft pick in 2011, she's played for the Minnesota Lynx, where she became a six-time WNBA All-Star, a five-time All-WNBA First Team player, a four-time WNBA champion, and the WNBA Most Valuable Player in 2014.

But before the 2019 season, in the peak of her career, Moore decided to take the year off for a different kind of court battle—one that had wrongfully convicted a young man and doomed him to spend most of his life behind bars. Her decision rocked her sport, and there was no guarantee that sacrificing an entire season to fight for criminal justice reform would bear any fruit.

Keep Reading Show less