A group of Muslims and Muslim organizations have raised more than $83,000 through a fundraising effort for the victims of last Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino. The campaign was launched by a network of local California, regional and national Muslim organizations last Thursday on the crowdfunding site LaunchGood.com, under the name “Muslims United For San Bernardino Families.”

“We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action. Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: ‘Have mercy to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens (God) will have mercy upon you.’ And the Quran teaches to ‘Repel evil by that which is better,’” reads the appeal on the LaunchGood page. It also asks Muslim-American imams, mosques and other leaders to endorse and promote the project.

Dr. Faisal Qazi, a neurologist from Fullerton, California, started the initiative with the goal of raising $100,000 to cover expenses like funeral costs, medical treatments, rent and mortgage payments for the San Bernardino victims and their families. At the current rate, the campaign, which ends on Dec. 30, will blow past its goal in less than a week. 

Qazi is the co-founder of MiNDS, a development organization dedicated to supporting specialty healthcare organizations and mental health programs for underserved families in the Inland Empire, Pomona and North Orange County. He first launched a small fund on behalf of the organization Wednesday after he learned about the shooting, as many of his patients’ families take their children to the Inland Regional Center, the site of the attack, for help with developmental disabilities.

MuslimsUnited A Muslim-led crowdfunding effort is underway to help the victims of last week's mass shooting in California. Photo: LaunchGood.com

On Thursday, Qazi reached out to MiNDS’ partner organizations, including Muslim groups like the Sahaba Initiative and Uplift Charity. That’s when area Muslim leaders, including Imam Mohammed Faqih of the Islamic Institute of Orange County, asked Qazi to expand the effort into a national, Muslim-led interfaith fundraising campaign.

“This is something that affects all of us; it affects us as [U.S.] citizens,” Faqih told the Los Angeles Daily News. “This particular incident affected us as Muslims. This is the response that everyone, especially Muslim-Americans should [have] in every case, regardless of who the perpetrators are.”

Qazi says that he is partnering with San Bernardino County public health officials and the Arrowhead United Way in San Bernardino to distribute the funds once they’re collected.