US Muslims raising money for stabbing victims who stood up to racist rants


NEW YORK, May 29 (APP): American officials hailed the two men in Portland, Oregon, who were killed when they came to the defence of two young women, one wearing a Hijab, who were targeted by an anti-Islam rant, calling them heroes, with Muslims pledging to raise money for their bereaved families.
Police identified the men killed as Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy
Valley, Oregon, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, of Portland. The stabbing attack on a train occurred the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.
A third victim, 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher, is being treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.
Police arrested 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian, of north
Portland. Local media reports described Christian as a “known white supremacist” in the area, and his Facebook page showed a long history
of posting racist and extremist beliefs.
According to witnesses, a white male passenger riding the eastbound
MAX train early Friday afternoon began yelling what “would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and
religions,” police said. Some of the slurs were directed at two female passengers, one of whom was wearing a hijab, according to police.
At least two men tried to calm the ranting man down, but “they
were attacked viciously by the suspect,” Portland police spokesman Pete Simpson said at a news conference.
“Two men lost their lives and another was injured for doing the
right thing, standing up for people they didn’t know against hatred,” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement. “Their actions were
brave and selfless, and should serve as an example and inspiration to us all. They are heroes.”
“I am very thankful as a Muslim, I am very thankful as a Portlander … that we stand together here as one,” Muhammad Najieb, an Imam at the Muslim Community Center, was quoted as saying in media reports on Sunday.
He said the two young women “could have been the victims, but three heroes jumped in and supported them.”
Najieb said a fundraising page launched by his group for the families of the dead men, a surviving victim and the two young women had raised $50,000 in its first hours.
Police said they would examine what appears to be the extremist ideology of suspect Christian, 35, who was accused of killing the two men Friday. Christian’s social media postings indicate an affinity for Nazis and political violence.
“We are very sad. Ramazan started just a couple hours ago,” Imtiaz
Khan, president of the Islamic Center of Portland, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “We are very sorry for the two men who tried to do the
right thing. Of course people from the Muslim community are concerned.
And, unfortunately, the easy targets are women because of the headscarf.”
Simpson, the police spokesman, said, “Our thoughts are with the Muslim community. As something like this happens, this only instills fear in that community.”