Islamic groups in Pittsburgh appear to have pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars from fundraisers set up in the wake of the horrific October mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, which killed eleven Jews and injured several congregants and police officers who responded to the scene.
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 Clarion Project, along with other groups, has documented how Islamists have used anti-Semitic crimes in the United States to raise cash for their priorities.
Concerning the individuals behind the Pittsburgh fundraiser, there were already several red flags.
“There is a pattern of American Islamists pretending to be sympathetic to domestic U.S. Jews to build credibility that they are not anti-Semites. Several of these Islamists have been involved in crowdfunding campaigns to aid the Pittsburgh synagogue,” Ryan Mauro and Alex VanNess of the Clarion Project reported.
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 a cemetery that was promised funds didn't receive a check from the group. After The Forward reported that the Golden Hill Cemetery in Lakewood, Colorado, hadn't received the funds and El-Messidi wasn't returning the cemetery executive director's calls, at least some of the money was reportedly distributed. The cemetery executive director has declined to disclose how much of the promised money he received.
The legacy media has played a role in offering false legitimacy to the fundraisers set up by the perpetual scam artists. In the wake of the Pittsburgh shooting, countless media outlets celebrated their supposed noble fundraising activities without taking the time to investigate or caution readers about their past activities.
Editor's note: The penultimate paragraph has been updated to add more detail about the cemetery repair funds and to clarify that the linked article referred to the Golden Hill Cemetery in Lakewood, Colorado.