Contributing to the relief of needy people’s hunger is a truly compassionate act of unconditional social tolerance, especially in response to heartless, brutal violence. But responding to violence with peace, over 230 charity food drives have collected more than 61,000 cans for food pantries nationwide in a viral response to the brutal killing of three Muslim students in North Carolina. “#FeedTheirLegacy,” a campaign launched in their memory, was inspired after the last facebook post of Deah Barakat showed him feeding homeless people in Durham, North Carolina.
American Muslims have come together in an amazing and historic groundswell of community service in memory of Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha. Not just in North Carolina, over 230 mosques and student groups across the country have registered their canned food drives on the campaign website, FeedTheirLegacy.com.
“Believers do not eat their fill
while their neighbors go hungry.”
[- Prophet Muhammad ﷺ]
Urging a Peaceful and Honorable Response
Urging a peaceful and honorable response, their families have asked Muslims to focus on the victims’ legacies of service rather than on their brutal murders. Prominent Muslim organizations immediately heeded the call and, with the support of the victims’ families, launched the nationwide #FeedTheirLegacy campaign.
Within 72 hours of the campaign launch, more than 33,000 cans had been collected. According to a recent statement, when combined with monetary donations, the equivalent of over 30,000 meals had been donated, enough to feed the entire homeless population of North Carolina for two days. In an interfaith show of support, people and organizations of all faiths and creeds have been donating generously in support of this charitable response to terrifying violence.
An Interfaith Response to Extremist Acts of Terror
“While we mourn the loss of three young and extraordinary American Muslims, and the brutal way they were killed, the Quran instructs us to respond to evil with good,” shared Tarek El-Messidi, national coordinator of FeedTheirLegacy. “With extremists like ISIS dominating headlines daily, we want America to see that it’s Muslims like Deah, Yusor and Razan who truly represent us. They were killed by a neighbor, but we’ll respond by feeding our neighbors across America. By doing so, we feed their legacy of serving others.”
In a welcome recognition of rising anti-Muslim sentiment due to unbalanced media and political coverage, the Interfaith Alliance recently gathered the signatures of 18 religious and civil rights groups. In a letter calling on the White House to confront extremist violence of all types, the signers requested that singling out specific faiths must be avoided.
Sharing condemnation for extremist violence, the letter writers nevertheless expressed concern that the White House has been focusing exclusively on Islamic extremists, which risks contributing to the marginalization of American Muslims. They noted in their letter, “studies by the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center have shown that the overwhelming majority of terrorist incidents in the United States were committed by non-Muslims.”
Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, said, “Unfortunately, no single religion has a monopoly on extremist violence. Diversity and religious pluralism are sources of pride for our country. The White House must make sure not to unfairly single out American Muslims as it seeks to confront violent extremism perpetrated in the name of any faith or ideology.”
North Carolina Charity Aims for 10,000 cans Nationwide by Saturday, March 28
Turning the attention away from violence and extremism, the #FeedTheirLegacy has adopted a focus on brotherly love and charitable acts of social tolerance. The goal of #FeedTheirLegacy is to collect 100,000 cans of food by Saturday, March 28th. As of this writing, 234 food drives nationwide have contributed over 61,000 cans, and over $10,000 in monetary donations have been received in memory of Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha.
The FeedTheirLegacy.com website shares the excitement of this generous outpouring of support with news and video clips of nationwide events taking place in schools, mosques, and a wide variety of other venues. A map of the U.S. charts the viral progress of the campaign across nation, and a live display tracks state-by-state can collections in real-time. Currently in first place, the victims’ home state of North Carolina received the equivalent of 22,000 meal donations in one day, the result of a one-day interfaith food drive. In fact, the local food bank reported that it was the largest single-day donation they had ever received, including even Christmas Day donations.
Deah’s sister, Suzanne Barakat stated, “One month later, we still grieve the sudden loss of our family, the silver lining in this tragedy is amazing efforts like FeedTheirLegacy. The amount of food charity given in their memory comforts us tremendously, knowing that their lives inspired so much good.”
Please consider visiting the FeedTheirLegacy.com website, and locate your nearest food drive. Contributing to the relief of needy people’s hunger is a truly compassionate act of unconditional social tolerance. Accepting others as they are, no matter who they are, where they are from, or what they believe, is the first step in honest stewardship of the Earth. Needed now more than ever, unconditional acceptance, regardless of our perceived differences, is the only way we will learn to work together for the common good of all Creation.
So compete with one another in good deeds.