The Emanuel AME Church shooting racked us. Being attacked in a sacred space, where people were vulnerable, yet welcoming was almost unfathomable.
Sadly, after that heinous, terrorist attack, Black churches all over the south became targets of other racist acts.
7 churches were burned in the wake of the Charleston shooting. And another one last year, in Ferguson, Missouri after protestors began calling for the arrest of Officer Darren Wilson.
According to Ebony.com, here are a list of the churches.
November 24, 2014: Flood Christian Church, Ferguson, Missouri
June 21, 2015: College Hill Seventh Day Adventist in Knoxville, Tennessee
June 23, 2015: God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia
June 23, 2015: Fruitland Presbyterian Church in Gibson County, Tennessee
June 24, 2015: Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina
June 26, 2015: Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina
June 26, 2015: Greater Miracle Temple Apostolic Holiness Church in Tallahassee, Florida
June 30, 2015: Mount Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina
While authorities have said one of these churches was struck by lightening, (side eye), the others are clear cases of arson. The Glover Grove church, in Warrenville, South Carolina was found with KKK inscriptions on the wall, depicting a haunting and hateful image from the Jim Crow era.
Thankfully, good always rises up to meet evil. This time, in the form of 23-year-old Faatimah Knight.
Knight, a Muslim woman studying theology, started a campaign on LaunchGood with a group of friends, during the month of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, to raise money to rebuild the churches that were burned.
This message was posted on the fundraising page.
As Muslims we know the importance of protecting the vulnerable and respecting people who call on God in their various tongues. We want for others what we want for ourselves: the right to worship without intimidation, the right to safety, and the right to property. We must always keep in mind that the Muslim community and the black community are not different communities. We are profoundly integrated in many ways, in our overlapping identities and in our relationship to this great and complicated country. We are connected to Black churches through our extended families, our friends and teachers, and our intertwined histories and convergent present. Too often cowards inflict us with a crippling fear, but with encouragement and support from likely and unlikely places fear cannot stop us.
“…you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers are those who say, ‘We are Christians.’ That is because among them are priests and monks, and they are not arrogant.” -Qur’an 5:82″
Imam Zaid Shakir, a Muslim American leader, scholar, author and public speaker, added this sentiment.
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. Unless, of course, we are talking about those of us who members of the African American Muslim community. As a whole, however, we 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.
According to CNN, the initial goal was $10,000 but the project exceeded that limit 12 hours after it was launched. Now, the goal is $75,000 and, at the time of publication, supporters have raised $59,922. The fundraiser will close on July 18.
You can watch the video for the fundraiser below and most importantly donate, if you’re able, here.
It’s so nice to see this type of unity from groups who are often misrepresented as opposites. Thank God for Faatimah, her vision and all the good work that will come from her efforts.