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Shay Khatiri

Iranian who fled persecution raises $1 million for synagogue

A man who fled political persecution in Iran and now lives in the US is about to donate $1 million to the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Shay Khatibi was staying with one of his Jewish friends when he heard the news that an attacker shot and killed 11 people during a worship service and also wounded several others.

“She told me what happened and she was just broken,” the 29-year-old graduate student told CNN. “Seeing how upset she was, I wanted to donate to the congregation.”

The very next day, Khatiri started a GoFundMe campaign and asked people to join him in giving back to the victims of the mass shooting.

“I thought to myself, I could donate $18 or $36 — something like that. But that wouldn’t make a huge impact,” he said. “If I did something like this, maybe it could go viral and have a huge impact,” he said.

Khatiri is making a huge impact. He has raised over $1 million in just six days.  More than 16,000 people have contributed to the campaign.

“This fundraiser is meant to help the congregation with the physical damages to the building, as well as the survivors and the victims’ families. Respond to this hateful act with your act of love today,” he says on the online fundraising campaign’s website.

The funds are being sent directly to the synagogue and its members.

“Everyone talks about how divided we are. But in such a tragic moment, Americans are always powerful and indivisible in trauma,” he said.”Every time something happens, I am reminded of how great this country is.”

Khatibi has been pictured with the late Republican Senator John McCain and, by his Twitter account, describes himself as a moderate. While critical of some Trump administration policies he is clear in his support of the ability of the U.S. to protect it’s southern borders.

Strangely after his new found notoriety of the fundraising campaign, Twitter has labeled his Twitter account which is full of Republican leaning statements, as “dangerous.”