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An inmate donated his life savings to relief in Gaza — and then a GoFundMe campaign raised $100k for him

In Sacramento, a man named Hamza, currently incarcerated, has made a remarkable gesture by offering assistance to Gazans facing crisis.

Despite serving a 40-year sentence resulting from a tragic incident in his youth, Hamza managed to contribute $17.74 this past week.

Justin Mashouf, a filmmaker based in LA and a correspondent of Hamza’s, shared this touching act on X (formerly Twitter).

Mashouf disclosed, “This donation represents 136 hours of labor performed by Hamza in prison, where he works as a porter/janitor.”

Earning a meager 13 cents per hour in prison, Hamza’s donation constitutes his entire savings, as noted by Mashouf.

While Hamza’s prolonged, virtually unpaid labor underscores the systemic exploitation faced by incarcerated individuals in America, his act of generosity also sheds light on the broader issues of injustice, both domestically and internationally.

Fortunately, advocates from diverse backgrounds acknowledged this resonance and rallied behind Mashouf’s post with overwhelming support.

This groundswell of solidarity led to the launch of a GoFundMe campaign for Hamza, with the aim of bolstering his commissary funds and laying the groundwork for his eventual release. Within a single day, the campaign garnered over $100,000 in donations.

“In the 80s, Hamza was involved in a tragic accident involving a firearm that led to the loss of a loved one and his subsequent incarceration for over four decades,” Mashouf explained on the GoFundMe page.

“He has carried the weight of this tragedy every day for decades. During his time in prison, he has found solace in Islam and has been advocating for parole for years.”

Thanks to recent legislation in California granting parole opportunities to minors tried as adults, coupled with support from the Muslim community, Hamza has been granted parole and is slated for release at the end of March.

“Your contributions will empower him to reintegrate into society with dignity and stability after years of isolation,” Mashouf conveyed. “With your assistance, Hamza will gain access to essential resources, secure housing and transportation, and navigate the challenges of his newfound freedom.”

Initially set at $15,000 to cover essentials and establish an emergency fund for Hamza’s release, the fundraiser surpassed expectations, resonating with countless donors moved by his gesture of kindness and faith.

Upon reaching $100,000 in donations, the fundraiser was temporarily halted.

“While donating what little one has should not be an expectation, I thank you for your generosity,” expressed one donor. “May your journey be filled with kindness and love as you step back into the world. I relate to your story and wish you nothing but peace and love.”

“We are all striving for a free Palestine,” echoed another donor. “We are all working towards collective liberation!”

Hamza’s appreciation and faith were palpable in a note he penned for GoFundMe donors through Mashouf.

“I humbly and respectfully extend my gratitude to all of you with As-Salaamu Alaikum,” Hamza wrote.

Following his expression of gratitude, Hamza encouraged donors to continue supporting relief efforts in Palestine and beyond.

“Life is the seed of the Divine Spark of our Creator,” he wrote. “It embodies compassion, mercy, kindness, charity, empathy, standing up for what’s right, truth, and justice. Even giving away just one date fruit to someone in need embodies this.”

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Last modified: March 1, 2024