"This is an actual, tangible action we can do to show non-Muslims that we have your back," donor Marya Ayloush said

By Tara Fowler
Updated December 09, 2015 11:35 AM
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Credit: Doug Saunders/Los Angeles News Group/AP

When Dr. Faisal Qazi launched a crowdfunding campaign on Launch Good to support the victims of last week’s San Bernardino shooting, he thought he’d raise maybe $20,000 at most.

But the support from people on the the Muslim-directed crowdfunding site has far exceeded his expectations: In just five days, he has raised more than $119,000 from more than 1,000 donors as of Wednesday morning.

“The American Muslim community has had extensive and intense conversations in the last decade about our role in society,” Qazi, a 41-year-old Pomona, California, neurologist, told The Los Angeles Times. “What you’re seeing is the coming of a new generation of American Muslims being emotionally and physically invested in whatever transpires in society.”

When he first launched the campaign on Dec. 3, just a day after the deadly shooting that claimed 14 lives and left 21 others wounded, Qazi had no idea the perpetrators were Muslims themselves. He was just looking to help people in need any way he could.

However, once it was revealed that two Muslims – a married couple who’d been radicalized for “quite some time,” according to the FBI – were the culprits, Qazi’s campaign took off, receiving endorsements from various Islamic scholars and leaders to become the most successful campaign for the broader community in the site’s history.

“This is an actual, tangible action we can do to show non-Muslims that we have your back,” donor Marya Ayloush told The Times. “In every situation where the terrorist happens to be a Muslim, every person, whether they admit it or not, is afraid they’ll be lumped in with these guys.”

She added: “Those families almost feel like neighbors, and they cannot go unassisted.”

Those who wish to donate can visit LaunchGood.com.