$3,278 in 12 days.
That’s how much 2011 graduates of Julia R. Masterman High School in Center City and a number of other community members have raised in honor of Fatima Rahman, a 2011 Masterman graduate who went missing in January and whose body was found in March in the Schuylkill River.
Penn is a popular choice for Masterman students — Quakernet currently lists 79 undergradues who attended the high school — and many of Fatima’s former classmates at Penn are participating in the fundraising campaign, which will benefit her family’s mosque, Masjid Al-Jamia of Philadelphia, at 42nd and Walnut streets
After attending Rahman’s funeral at Masjid Al-Jamia, many of Rahman’s classmates were inspired to raise money in her name to help refurbish the mosque.
College junior Allison Denenberg, who knew Rahman from Masterman, said that it was clear at Rahman’s funeral how much her community loved her and how important the mosque was to her family. Raising money for them seemed like a “more personal and direct way to honor Fatima’s memory,” she said.
Drexel University junior Mashaal Syed was also a friend of Rahman’s in high school and has been taking the lead on the fundraising. She said that after seeing that the mosque could benefit from new paint, tiling and a thorough cleaning, everyone agreed that raising money for the mosque was the perfect way to honor Rahman’s memory.
“She was really religious, so it’s in her honor and also helping to better her community,” Syed said.
Syed said she hopes to raise $5,000 for renovations to the mosque and wants to help renovate the mosque with other Masterman alumni and community members.
“I think there’s a lot of work that could be done in the mosque, which is why raising money would be great,” Wharton junior Kirsten Lau said. Lau knew Rahman in high school and helped organize and donate to the fundraising campaign.
Jihad Abouhatab, a community member at the mosque and the son of the imam, said that Rahman’s classmates approached him with the idea to raise money for the mosque. He sees it as a great “symbolic” gesture for them to give back to a community that was important to Rahman.
Abouhatab said any proposed upgrades would have to be approved by the mosque’s board, so no details or timelines are finalized yet.
Denenberg said the fundraiser for the mosque is especially appropriate for Rahman’s memory. “The last time I saw her, that’s where she was going, so to me it’s kind of poetic ... it’s kind of like that’s where she’s still going,” she said.
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