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US Muslims Raise $50K to Help Restore Black Churches Destroyed by Fire

© AP Photo / David GoldmanThe steeple of Emanuel AME Church rises above the street as a police officer tells a car to move as the area is closed off following Wednesday's shooting, Thursday, June 18, 2015 in Charleston, S.C.
The steeple of Emanuel AME Church rises above the street as a police officer tells a car to move as the area is closed off following Wednesday's shooting, Thursday, June 18, 2015 in Charleston, S.C. - Sputnik International
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A series of fires across the south in recent weeks have destroyed eight black Christian churches, but they are getting help to rebuild from a number of Muslim communities across the US, who began a project called #RespondWithLove.

In the blink of an eye,  $50k was raised by Faatimah Knight, a student, through a crowdfunding effort on LaunchGood, a Muslim crowdfunding platform for good causes.  The group has suspended online donations because of the overwhelming outpouring of generosity.

"We wanted to show that as a Muslim community, their pain did not go unnoticed by us-that we did, if fact, feel deeply for their loss," Knight told NBC News.

Just days after the Charleston massacre killed nine African-Americans,  Knight along with friends and family managed to raise almost $1000 while intending to send flowers to the victims' families, with a project they called "From Muslims to Emanuel AME Church, with Love."

When they found out about the black churches had burned down, they decided to switch focus and collect money to assist in rebuilding the congregations.

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The money being raised by Muslims is taking place during Ramadan, a holy period of prayer, fasting, charity-giving and self-accountability.

Along with Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, the Arab American Association of New York and Ummah Wide, non-Muslims are also providing financial aid.

Commenting on the reasons she decided to start collecting funds for the churches, Knight, a Masters student at the Chicago Theological Seminary, underscored "ALL houses of worship are sanctuaries, a place where all should feel safe, a place we can seek refuge when the world is too much to bear."

"I'm a black person and I do identify with the wider black community at that level," she said. "Historically, the black community has been vulnerable."

Noting it's a holy month of Ramadan, Knight added that the Islam religion calls for the protection of those who are weak and vulnerable.

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