After a number of Southern churches were destroyed by arsonists, a Muslim woman named Faatimah Knight helped begin a fundraising campaign to help make an effort to rebuild the structures, which has led to more than $30,000 in donations in less than a month.
The 23-year-old Knight is a student at the Chicago Theological Seminary and first thought about using the original money raised, $500, to send flowers. After she raised $900, she decided to begin raising money online via the website, Launchgood.com. Due to her efforts, people of all faiths donated, including a number of Muslim organizations.
Knight indicated that the fact that it was the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was part of the reason for her advocacy. Another was the fact that the buildings that were burned were houses of worship, places that she considers sanctuaries.
In addition, Knight’s Muslim faith has taught her that the weak and vulnerable needed some form of protection. Those black churches have never been deemed as weak, but are vulnerable to acts of racism.
The fires began shortly after the June 17 church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina that left nine people dead. The attack was racially motivated, which led to calls for the Confederate flag to be removed from the South Carolina statehouse, due to the racist overtones that the flag engenders.
That removal took place in early July, but the debate over its significance angered many who argued that the flag was an important part of Southern culture.