PORTLAND, Oregon — Muslims in Portland, Oregon, thank the community for its support and say they are raising money for the families of two men who were killed when they came to the defense of two young women — one wearing a hijab — who were targeted by an anti-Muslim rant.
“I am very thankful as a Muslim, I am very thankful as a Portlander … that we stand together here as one,” Muhammad A. Najieb, an imam at the Muslim Community Center, says Saturday.
He says the two young women “could have been the victims, but three heroes jumped in and supported them.”
Najieb says 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 say they’ll examine what appears to be the extremist ideology of suspect Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, who is accused of killing the two men Friday. Christian’s social media postings indicate an affinity for Nazis and political violence.
The attack occurred on a light-rail train on the first day of Ramadan, the holiest time of the year for Muslims.
Christian is being held on suspicion of aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a weapon. He was arrested a short time after the attack when he was confronted by other men.