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Muslims stand with Christians, raising money for burned churches. Beliefs in action are beautiful.

"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."

Muslims stand with Christians, raising money for burned churches. Beliefs in action are beautiful.

With eight black churches burned in the South in the wake of the Charleston shootings, many have raised their voices to stand in solidarity.

So far, three are under investigation for arson.


One group amid the thousands of voices demanding justice might appear on the surface to have little in common with Southern African-American churches.

But dig a little deeper and you'll find a community with shared values and a shared piece of the American experience, whose support and solidarity makes perfect sense. Who is this group?

Muslim Americans.

Using online crowdfunding platform LaunchGood, a handful of Muslim American groups started a campaign to raise money for burned black churches.

So far, the campaign has raised over $60,000.

Why are they providing so much support (besides the fact that they're compassionate Americans who want to see an end to hate, of course)?

"We want for others what we want for ourselves: the right to worship without intimidation, the right to safety, and the right to property."

Muslim Americans have faced their fair share of struggle to worship free of hate and violence. And in turn, they're showing solidarity for all those who gather in the name of goodness. Because you don't stomp out hate once and for all by getting religion-specific. As a Muslim leader close to this campaign, Imam Zaid Shakir, points out:

"The American Muslim community cannot claim to have experienced anything close to the systematic and institutionalized racism and racist violence that has been visited upon African Americans. We do, however, understand the climate of racially inspired hate and bigotry that is being reignited in this country. ... We want to let our African American brothers and sisters know that we stand in solidarity with them during this dark hour."

The beauty of this campaign isn't just about the generosity and kindness.

This simple, warm act of solidarity demonstrates the values of Islam in America.

Image in public domain.

I spoke to religious scholar Najeeba Syeed about the practical lessons this movement is teaching. She was quick to point out a few interesting tidbits about Islam that this awesome gesture illuminates.

Here are four facts that explain why Muslim-Christian solidarity for justice (and this campaign in particular) makes so much sense:

1. Many Muslims in America are actually African-American.

That's right. All black religious people aren't Christian and all Muslims aren't Arab-Americans. The African-American Muslim community has been a part of the American landscape for centuries. This act is a reminder of the diversity and richness of the history of overlapping identities.

2. Modern Islam in America values the sanctity of ALL spaces where the name of God is spoken.

"We stand with these churches not just because of interfaith solidarity but because it's a place where the name of God is spoken, so we have a responsibility for the protection of these spaces."
— Najeeba Syeed

From Quran 22:40: "monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques - in [all of] which Gods name is abundantly extolled."

3. Timing matters. This campaign falls during Ramadan, a Muslim season of service.

Ramadan is a 30-day religious period where Muslims from all around the world reflect on their faith ... but it's also a hugely significant time of service, humanitarianism, and charity.

4. The "Theology of Neighborliness."

The Prophet Muhammad said, “He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while the neighbor to his side goes hungry."

"The idea of being a part of the community in service and giving beyond the Muslim community has a strong theological basis from the many traditions and sayings of Prophet Muhammad. In Ramadan you give to one's neighbor no matter who that neighbor is. You don't ask if that neighbor is Muslim, you just give. "
— Najeeba Syeed


Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images

How beautiful is that?

An act of hatred and a moment of tragedy have created the space for interfaith service — and a teachable moment for a country that consistently marginalizes and misrepresents Muslim Americans.

If you want to donate, there's time! Head on over to the LaunchGood page for #RespondWithLove and give what you want. Or just read about it!

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

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When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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