Religion

Muslim Groups Raise Over $500,000 For Portland Victims

| by Shani Shahmoon

Less than a week after the Portland stabbing attack, Muslim groups have raised over half a million dollars for the cause.

A crowdfunding campaign started by Wajdi Said, president of the Muslim Education Trust (MET) in joint effort with CelebrateMercy, a national organization that connects Islam to programs and social campaigns, has received enormous support, exceeding their own goals in fundraising efforts.

The campaign came as a result of the recent racist attack on a Portland, Oregon, light rail. On May 26, the first day of Ramadan, 35-year-old white supremacist Jeremy Christian drunkenly boarded the train and began shouting racial slurs at two black women -- one was wearing a hijab, a headcovering used by Muslim women, USA Today reported.

"He told us to go back to Saudi Arabia and he told us we shouldn’t be here, to get out of his country," one of the women said.

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"He was just telling us that we basically weren’t anything and that we should just kill ourselves," she added.

Three men on took it upon themselves to confront Christian, and according to the light rail security camera footage, all three were attacked by Christian, who used a pocketknife to stab them.

Two of the defenders, Rick John Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, did not survive the attacks.

Micah Fletcher, 21, is the only surviving victim of the three men stabbed by Christian.

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Upon being put in a patrol car immediately after exiting the light rail, Christian can be heard on video saying that he can "die a happy man" after stabbing three people in the neck, CBS News reported.

Fletcher exclaimed how grateful he is for the support and love he has received from the community.

Fletcher also said that he was grateful for the money raised to support his medical bills, but that all other money donated to him will be given to the the Best and Namkai-Meche families.

"I want the money to go to the families of the people that lost their lives that day," Fletcher said.

When the crowdfunding page was first made public, it was raising $1,000 every five minutes and quickly exceeded its primary goal of $60,000. In two days, the campaign raised $400,000.

The page, published on Launch Good, explains that funds raised will initially cover "the immediate, short-term needs of the grieving families -- including funeral expenses." But as the funds began to exceed those needs, it is said the money will also help finance long-term expenses, like sending Best's four young children to college.

Any additional money will reportedly be put into a scholarship fund for access to education.

CelebrateMercy, one of the administrators of the campaign, has become well-known for its admirable social activism efforts on behalf of the Islamic communities.

Most recently, the organization raised over $160,000 to repair vandalized Jewish cemeteries, a trend that picked up at the start of 2017.

Sources: Launch Good, CBS News, The Independent, USA Today / Photo credit: Pixabay

In light of the money raised, did the hatred backfire on Christian?
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