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Muslim groups raise $110,000 for Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims

Men greet each other outside the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall before a service to honor and mourn the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at the Tree Of Life Synagogue on October 28, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (AFP photo)

A funding campaign launched by two Muslim groups has raised more than $110,000 for the victims of the weekend shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

On Saturday morning, a 46-year-old Pennsylvania man armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and at least three handguns stormed the Tree of Life synagogue and opened fire. Robert Bowers, the suspect, reportedly shouted "all Jews must die" as he entered the synagogue.

The 20-minute rampage described as among the deadliest against the Jewish community in the US left eleven people dead and six others wounded, including four police officers who dashed to the scene. The suspected gunman has been charged on 29 federal counts.

The funding campaign was launched on LaunchGood, a Muslim-focused crowdfunding site, on Saturday. It reached $25,000 goal in less than six hours, and then surpassed its revised $50,000 goal in less than 24 hours.

As of Monday morning, the campaign had raised $110,000 from 2,513 supporters. It is now hoping to raise $125,000.

“The Muslim-American community extends its hands to help the shooting victims, whether it is the injured victims or the Jewish families who have lost loved ones,” the fundraising page reads. “We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.”

The fundraising campaign was started by Celebrate Mercy and MPower Change, two Muslim-American nonprofit organizations which would partner with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh to distribute the funds.

According to the LaunchGood page, the money will be used to help families of victims pay for funeral expenses and medical bills.

“Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate and violence in America,” the page reads. “We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event.”

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