In late October, Robert Gregory Bowers, a vicious anti-Semite, walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and shot and killed 11 people. Several people were injured, four of which were police officers. It was tragic—but of course, everyone blamed President Trump for reasons only morons understand. There were protests when he visited the site. Everyone was unnecessarily creating controversy. But now, we have another controversy that could be brewing that isn’t related to Trump. It centers on anti-Semite Linda Sarsour lending her support to raise funds for the victims of the shooting. There were reports that the Tree of Life synagogue was cheated out of the money fundraised after the tragic shooting.
Correction: ~$160K was raised as part of one general cemeteries campaign that pre-dates the TOL massacre and ~$240K was raised as part of the TOL campaign after the massacre. The $10K was from the first campaign.— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 27, 2018
I was wrong about the 10%, still troubling.
H/t @Jeff__Davenport https://t.co/X1oghcOxz3
10,000USD— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 27, 2018
From The Forward, which seemingly does its best to whitewash what happened here. pic.twitter.com/t2UQJIFznW— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) November 27, 2018
The money raised in the name of Tree of Life may never reach them at all.— Arthur Normanson ?????? (@artstop) November 27, 2018
That's what seems likely, but the $10k is meant to show that SOME MONEY was sent to them.
Update: Update: Islamic Center claims it will send the $155k check to Tree of Life synagogue. As for remaining $83,634, it will go to vague "projects that help foster Muslim-Jewish collaboration, dialogue, and solidarity." So all that $ raised will simply vanish, it appears.— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) November 27, 2018
Flashback: El-Messidi and Sarsour were also behind the 6-figure sum that was raised to "repair Jewish cemeteries." The money was never accounted for. Cemeteries said they never received a check. https://t.co/LPGMoEm3Tk— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) November 27, 2018
Now, some money was given to Tree of Life, around $10,000, but that was part of an effort to repair Jewish cemetaries that were vandalized. Since the shooting, around $240,000 was raised, but it appears little, if any, has been sent to Tree of Life (See: UPDATE). Of that $240,000-figure, $155,000 went to the the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh.
Hen Mazzig of The Jerusalem Post initially said that $400,000 was raised for Tree of Life, but then offered a correction, noting that $160,000 was raised by Sarsour as part of an effort to fix Jewish cemeteries and $240,000 was raised after the shooting. The corrected tweet is in the thread above.
Tree of Life received just $10,000 from the cemetery campaign, but doesn't appear to have received a dime from the post-shooting fundraising effort, but now the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh says they will supposedly send its six-figure check ($155,000) to Tree of Life. According to Conservative Review’s Jordan Schactel, the other $83,634 will go “to vague ‘projects that help foster Muslim-Jewish collaboration, dialogue, and solidarity.'" Oh, and as for the money raised for Jewish cemeteries, several never received the funds that were promised (via CR):
According to the left-wing The Forward, the Islamic group Celebrate Mercy has already funneled $155,000 — of over $238,634 that was raised supposedly for the victims of the shooting and the greater Jewish community of Pittsburgh — into the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh. Though the Forward article states that a document was posted signed by a representative of Celebrate Mercy, the director of the Islamic Center, and a “Tree of Life representative detailing exactly how the funds will be distributed to victims and their families,” the link to the document is dead.
As for the remaining $83,634, raised above the fundraiser’s $150,000 goal, it will go toward the vague goal of “projects that help foster Muslim-Jewish collaboration, dialogue, and solidarity,” Celebrate Mercy director Tarek El-Messidi told The Forward.
The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh is a mosque with deep ties to Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the United States. A former imam there was an overt anti-Semite who blamed Jews for the rise of ISIS, and he was ultra-cozy with anti-Semitic hate preacher Louis Farrakhan.
Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour in particular (who fundraised in the wake of the Pittsburgh attacks, through her Islamic advocacy group called MPower Change) has a long history of running Jewish “solidarity” scams, which resulted in raised cash simply disappearing.
Last year, Sarsour and El-Messidi raised over $100,000 for the purported goal of helping to repair Jewish cemeteries that were damaged by vandals. Months went by, and several cemeteries that were promised funds never received a check from the group.
Yeah, I could see how a lot of people are going to see this as a problem. Will it be big enough to warrant a lawsuit? We'll see.
UPDATE: Okay, so let’s clear a few things up. Hen Mazzig went on a lengthy Twitter thread, which is featured below, which pretty much sums up the whole ordeal. Yet, we have to start with the update that the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh is going to transfer the remaining monies to the synagogue (via CBS Pittsburgh):
The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh transferred the remaining $85,000 worth of donations Wednesday afternoon to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to support the victims’ families, survivors and first responders of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Squirrel Hill.
“We know the money, 100 percent of the money, is going to go to the Jewish community. The rumors that are being spread, frankly, as far as I’m aware, are coming from outside of Pittsburgh,” said Joshua Sayles, of the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh.
Sayles said he talks with Mohamed almost daily about the donations. The two even signed a receipt, posted on the public fundraising website, that shows the total raised as nearly $239,000, with $155,000 directly covering initial expense.
Sayles and Mohamed said the remaining money was transferred on Wednesday afternoon.
“We can give it today. We’re going to give it today actually. We just got guidance today about where the money should go, and its going to be deposited now,” said Mohamed on Wednesday morning.
Mazzig's thread clarified his initial remarks and added reasons for why there should be scrutiny here. First, he noted that a Jewish cemetery had to wait months for its vandalism repair funds, and more than a third of the cemetery funds raised have not been disbursed. The funds were raised on behalf of Celebrate Mercy, Tarek El-Messidi, Sarsour, who helps run MPower change, lent her name to the fundraiser and helped promote it. Also, given Sarsour’s history, are we really going to believe that there will be any positive communal interaction? Take it from here, Bari Weiss of The New York Times:
Start with Ms. Sarsour, by far the most visible of the quartet of organizers. It turns out that this “homegirl in a hijab,” as one of many articles about her put it, has a history of disturbing views, as advertised by . . . Linda Sarsour.
There are comments on her Twitter feed of the anti-Zionist sort: “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” she wrote in 2012. And, oddly, given her status as a major feminist organizer, there are more than a few that seem to make common cause with anti-feminists, like this from 2015: “You’ll know when you’re living under Shariah law if suddenly all your loans and credit cards become interest-free. Sound nice, doesn’t it?” She has dismissed the anti-Islamist feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the most crude and cruel terms, insisting she is “not a real woman” and confessing that she wishes she could take away Ms. Ali’s vagina — this about a woman who suffered genital mutilation as a girl in Somalia.
Ms. Sarsour and her defenders have dismissed all of this as a smear campaign coordinated by the far right and motivated by Islamophobia. Plus, they’ve argued, many of these tweets were written five years ago! Ancient history.
So, there was ample reason to apply scrutiny here. Here is Mazzig’s thread.
Great to read that following my calls here, “The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh transferred the remaining $85,000 worth of donations Wednesday afternoon to the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh”— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 29, 2018
I don’t think that was the original plan. Great news: https://t.co/o9K5jk5UCv
*Sorry, not that I think, it was not the original plan. pic.twitter.com/0qNkqf0kmY— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 29, 2018
Good news; All the funds will now be handed over to Tree of Life, including the extra money which is to go for Muslim-Jewish interfaith projects. It looks like the pressure of @HenMazzig's criticisms had an effect. pic.twitter.com/iyzEaJfdXz— (((kweansmom))) (@kweansmom) November 29, 2018
Thread: Clearing up the abuse of charity & donations for Jewish causes by Linda Sarsour— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 28, 2018
Sarsour’s charity raised over $400,000 for Jewish causes in 2 fundraisers:
A. “Repair Jewish cemeteries” (160k)
B. "Support Tree of Life shooting victims (Funeral Expenses, Medical Bills)" >>
What you need to know:— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 28, 2018
-There were significant delays in disbursing the Colorado cemetery funds (A) (it took six months for them to receive anything). It raises legitimate questions about whether Sarsour and El Messidi can be trusted to manage funds for Jewish causes. >>>
-Out of the money raised for the cemeteries (A), more than a third still has not been paid out, a year and a half later and it's not earmarked for a specific recipient ($62,000)— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 28, 2018
-$10,000 was sent to the victims of the TOL attack so far from the Cemeteries Fundraiser (A). >>>
- $155,000 (B) “will be sent” to the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh to “distribute to the Jewish communities” (according to contract) by the end of the year.— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 28, 2018
- $86,000 (B) will be kept by Sarsour’s charity for "projects that help foster Muslim-Jewish collaboration & solidarity.">>>
-Interfaith efforts are important, but raising money under the guise of helping victims of tragedy (B), then repurposing to interfaith efforts is wrong.— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 28, 2018
- Similarly, it's important that there is accountability for $155K raised for Pittsburgh to get to victims (a month+ later)>>>
-The rest of the money from (B), $86,000, which is going to interfaith projects should also be accounted for.— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 28, 2018
-Sarsour's charity "CelebrateMercy" is a missionary organization- there should be scrutiny of what they consider to be Muslim-Jewish collaboration. Sarsour's work?>>
-If they invite the Jews to an iftar celebration where they preach about the prophet, is that really benefiting the Jewish community?— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 28, 2018
-In response to requests for transparency, Sarsour lashed out on social media at what she called “right wing Zionists and the alt-right”>>>
-In the same sentence, Sarsour claimed she was “using her brand” to help Jews. This hypocrisy and demonization are unacceptable.— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 28, 2018
Thank you @kweansmom for the amazing research and help on this.
-Radical Jewish publication (that investigates Jewish foundations&charities and Jews, while defended Sarsour for years) tried to twist the story, in extremely vague and misleading article, that was the reason for the confusion.— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 28, 2018
I am sorry for the inaccuracy of my tweet yesterday
-Celebrate Mercy is Tarek El-Messidi's charity, "Its aim is to teach the life and character of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon". They are based in Philadelphia. Sarsour helps to run MPower Change which is primarily political. She put their name on the fundraising campaign.— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 28, 2018
On the fundraiser page CM updated that any donation over $150k will go to interfaith projects. We don’t know when that was added, but evidently they continue promote the campaign and money that was raised as “donations to the victims and their families” pic.twitter.com/pJyO7YWcYG— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 28, 2018
UPDATE: following the public outrage because of my tweet, “The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh transferred the remaining $85,000 worth of donations Wednesday afternoon to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh...”— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 29, 2018
Your outrage helped change the original decision of CelebrateMercy and Linda Sarsour to use the $86,000 to “brainstorm and be spent on projects that help foster Muslim-Jewish collaboration, dialogue, and solidarity.“ and not to be given to the victims.— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 29, 2018
CelebrateMercy still, apparently, hold on to the $63,000 that were raised to “Repair Jewish Cemetery” last year. They claim that they will use it for future Jewish emergency. I’ll keep watching.— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) November 29, 2018
I hope their rapid response is a little more rapid than their allocation of funds to the Golden Hill Cemetery.— (((kweansmom))) (@kweansmom) November 29, 2018