WOW: Money Raised After Pittsburgh Shooting Went To An Islamic Center With Terror Ties; UPDATE: A Clarification

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Posted: Nov 27, 2018 12:50 PM
WOW: Money Raised After Pittsburgh Shooting Went To An Islamic Center With Terror Ties; UPDATE: A Clarification

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. 

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.

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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.