LONDON – A crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the victims of Wednesday’s terror attack in London has met its goal twice-over in under two days.
Organizer Muddassar Ahmed was inside Parliament when attacker Khalid Masood drove his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, leaving three dead, and stabbed to death an unarmed police officer outside Parliament.
“I saw all the carnage before me,” Ahmed told CNN. “We were trapped there for about four hours.”
He said that the feelings of panic and fear he had in his spot of relative safety made him wonder about how the victims felt, and he decided, on returning home around 1 a.m., to make a call for donations for them.
Under the title “Muslims United for London,” Ahmed posted the campaign on the crowdfunding site LaunchGood.
The site describes itself as a platform to “support Muslims launching good all across the world by helping them raise funds for their campaigns.”
Within 15 hours, it had hit its initial goal of £10,000 ($12,500), and Ahmed doubled the goal. It reached £20,000, or about $25,000, a day later.
Standing for London
Ahmed said he started the campaign as a way of standing up for London, and the city’s international values.
“It’s very important to show that individuals that may try to divide communities by participating in attacks which pit one side of the community against another are going to fail,” he said.
From talking with friends in the Muslim community, he said he knew there was a great desire to contribute to the effort and help the victims.
“People are investing in the idea of London,” Ahmed said.
While some commentators in the UK and abroad have attempted to draw a connection between the attacker and his Muslim faith, Ahmed said he was heartened to see that “London doesn’t appear to have fallen into the hysteria that one might have expected.”
Now that the campaign has outpaced its original target by double, Ahmed said attention has turned to the far more difficult task of figuring out how to distribute the money raised.
“It’s a real conundrum, because we’re very quickly trying to figure out how to get the money to the people who need it most,” he said.
The group is working with public bodies and charities, and is expected to make an announcement about how the funds will be used by Friday afternoon.