The Islamic Center of Victoria in Texas was destroyed by a massive fire on Saturday, hours after President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The tragedy inspired an online fundraising campaign that raised over $1 million for the mosque.
On behalf of the center, Omar Rachid, a physician recruiter at a county-owned hospital in Victoria, Texas, created a GoFundMe campaign to financially assist any rebuilding efforts.
"Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the tremendous support we've received," Rachid wrote in a post. "The outpouring of love, kind words, hugs, helping hands and the financial contributions are examples of the true American Spirit and Humanity at its best with donations coming in from all over the world."
The mosque's fire was discovered in the early Saturday hours by a 7-Eleven employee. It took firefighters hours to extinguish the flames. The fire marshal at the scene refused to provide any theories as to how the blaze started.
The fire came at a time when Muslim communities across the country were feeling particularly vulnerable under the new administration. President Trump and his staff refused to call his executive order a "Muslim ban," but Rudy Giuliani, a close adviser to the president, later admitted on television that the intention all along was to find a legal way to bar Muslims from entering the country.
Americans who oppose the administration's new immigration policies appear to be resisting through altruism. The GoFundMe campaign to save the mosque has already surpassed the initial goal of $850,000.