Two groups of Muslim-Americans have raised more than $500,000 for the victims of last week’s Portland train attack.
The campaign, Muslims Unite for Portland Heroes, says it wishes to “respond to hate with love, to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.”
Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Ricky John Best, 53, were fatally stabbed while defending two young women who were being verbally assaulted by a man aboard a Portland train.
Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, also intervened on behalf of the two African-American teenagers, one of whom is Muslim and was wearing a hijab. Fletcher was stabbed in the neck but survived.
The campaign, organized by the Muslim Educational Trust and CelebrateMercy, will immediately help with the “short-term needs of the grieving families — including funeral expenses.”
However, according to the fundraising site, the campaign is exploring long-term aid for the families of the victims.
Best, an Army veteran who worked for the city of Portland, leaves behind a wife and four children. Leftover funds, the campaign said, could be used for his children to go to college.
They are also discussing an endowment or scholarship program in honor of Namkai-Meche, a recent college graduate, whose “enthusiasm was infectious” according to his family.
“Namkai-Mech’s mother is passionate about ensuring that her son’s death inspires lasting change,” the campaign said.
The suspected attacker, Jeremy Joseph Christian, was arraigned on several charges Tuesday, including two counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, two counts of second-degree intimidation and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.