Two Muslim nonprofit organizations have come together and raised more than $500,000 in about four days for the families of the Portland, Ore., heroes who were violently attacked while defending two young women from a raging white supremacist yelling anti-Muslim insults.
Last Friday, the two girls were verbally attacked by Jeremy Joseph Christian while riding a commuter train, authorities say. Christian started screaming anti-Islamic insults at the young women, one of whom was wearing a hijab, when three brave men stood up to defend the young women.
It was then that things took an even more horrific turn when Christian allegedly pulled a knife and stabbed all three men, killing two—recent college graduate Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Army veteran Ricky John Best, 53—and leaving a third—21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher—hospitalized.
Now the Muslim community is reaching out to respond to the hate that took the lives of the two men with love, ThinkProgress reports.
Through a LaunchGood campaign, the two groups, the Muslim Education Trust and Celebrate Mercy, have raised some $507,356 in about four days with the help of 9,841 supporters. The Muslim Public Affairs Council alone has donated at least $10,000.
The campaign’s original $60,000 goal was completely smashed out of the park in only five hours. The campaign goal, in response, has slowly increased, standing now at about $550,000. The funds will be used to help with “the immediate, short-term needs” of the families, such as funeral expenses, and the medical bills of Fletcher, if needed. Once those immediate expenses are covered, the extra funds will go toward long-term expenses of the families. The campaign notes that Best, one of the victims, left behind a wife and four children, and the kids all still need to go through college.
“We wish to respond to hate with love, to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action. Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “Have mercy to those on earth, and the One in Heaven (God) will have mercy upon you.” The Prophet’s life exemplified that central commandment in the Quran: “Repel evil with that which is better” (41:34),” the campaign reads.
Hundreds also attended events at Muslim community centers in Portland to find out what they could do to help.
As ThinkProgress notes, it is not the first time that the Muslim community has reached out to raise money for victims of tragedy. In 2015, when black churches across the country were hit by arson attacks, Muslim groups pulled together some $90,000 to help their neighbors repair and rebuild. When Jewish cemeteries were vandalized earlier this year, again Islamic organizations helped raise more than $65,000 to help with cleanup efforts.
Read more at ThinkProgress.