(November 30, 2018 / JNS) After outrage over allegedly reappropriated funds intended to go towards Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue—the target of the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in America—a crowdfunding campaign promoted by Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour to support victims of last month’s massacre distributed its final funds, according to The Forward, which first reported the allocation of funds before and after the Oct. 27 shooting of 11 Jewish worshippers.
Sarsour and the Islamic group CelebrateMercy raised more than $400,000 overall for Jewish causes in two fundraisers: $160,000 before the shooting to repair Jewish cemeteries, and in the shooting’s aftermath, $238,634, raised in more than a week, above the initial goal of $150,000, by the Islamic group CelebrateMercy.
As previously reported, $10,000 was sent to families of victims from Sarsour’s pre-Pittsburgh fundraiser, which raised a total of $160,000.
Initially, CelebrateMercy decided to allocate $155,000 to Tree of Life through the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, a mosque with deep ties to Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups in the United States, which was to decide what to do with the remaining funds. They originally allocated any sum raised more than $155,000 to the Islamic Center.
Out of the amount raised by CelebrateMercy, $86,000 was to remain at the Islamic Center to “be spent on projects that help foster Muslim-Jewish collaboration, dialogue and solidarity.”
However, following public outrage, the organization decided on Wednesday night to give the $86,000 to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
In the new agreement reached on Wednesday between Tree of Life, CelebrateMercy and the Islamic Center, the synagogue agreed to use the $155,000 for “projects to help foster Muslim-Jewish collaboration, dialogue and solidarity,” as long as victims and their families “have no further need.”
Tree of Life confirmed that it received the money through two “thank you” letters to CelebrateMercy, which The Forward acquired.