July 13 — Muslim and Jewish groups have been raising money to help rebuild at least six Black churches in the South hit by arsonists in a racist backlash to the unity ignited by the June 17 massacre in Charleston, S.C.
This united outrage, in the footsteps of the national Black Lives Matter movement, brought about the long-overdue removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state Capitol in Columbia, S.C. It also resulted in strong demands throughout the United States to destroy this profound symbol of racism, slavery and national oppression wherever it is found. Led by Black youth and community members, this response to racist terror has proven to be a setback for reactionary and racist elements in the U.S. and their sponsors in the capitalist class.
The Charleston massacre, which occurred on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, led to solidarity actions by Muslims across the country.
Faatimah Knight, a 23-year-old Black Muslim student, helped organize a number of Muslim organizations, including Ummah Wide, the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative and the Arab American Association of New York, to start a crowdfunding campaign on launchgood.com.
As of this writing, LaunchGood reports that $79,883 has been collected toward a goal of $100,000 to help “rebuild Black churches” and “stand united against hate.”
Mosques have been targets of racist and right-wing hate attacks since 2001. In May an Arizona mosque had to defend itself from an attack by racist, anti-Muslim bikers, reported Huffington Post on May 28.
Jewish temples and synagogues, long a target of anti-Semitic hate acts, have also contributed to the fundraising efforts for Southern Black Christian churches that have been torched or burned.
A broad coalition of more than 150 religious institutions has raised more than $150,000 of its quarter-million-dollar goal to help rebuild Black churches, says Rabbi Susan Talve of the Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis. (theguardian.com, July 10)
After the police killing of unarmed Black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., last August, the groups in the Rebuild the Churches Fund began working together, said Talve. She stressed that all must work together to end hate — “racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, Islamophobia” — and stand up when it happens.