Islamic groups have raised nearly half-a-million dollars for the families of the men killed in Portland, Oregon while trying to defend Muslim women from a racist attack.
Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Ricky John Best were fatally stabbed and another man was seriously injured after they attempted to help two teenage girls who were being racially abused on a train last week.
In the aftermath of the attack the Muslim Education Trust and CelebrateMercy, started a crowdfunding campaign for the victims in order to “respond to hate with love”.
The initial target for the campaign was set at $60,000 (£46,500), in order to cover the funeral costs for Mr Best and Mr Namkai-Meche. It was raised in just five hours.
After the fundraising drive massively exceeded this target, organisers said they will use the rest of the funds for long term expenses, such as supporting Mr Best’s four children through college.
If sufficient funds remain, they will go towards establishing a scholarship fund to increase access to education.
The organisers said they were inspired by the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, quoting a passage from the Qu’ran.
“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).
CelebrateMercy has also launched campaigns to repair Jewish cemeteries after a spate of apparently racially motivated attacks on tombstones across the US.
The Portland attacker, Jeremy Christian, appeared in Multnomah County court earlier this week, where he faced charges of murder, attempted murder, possession of a weapon, and intimidation.
He shouted: "Free speech or die, Portland. You got no safe place. This is America - get out if you don't like free speech.”
The 35-year-old was known to be involved with white nationalist groups and was recently photographed at a recent alt-right protest giving a Nazi salute and shouting: “Die, Muslims!”
Asha Deliverance, the mother of Mr Namkai-Meche, has written an open letter calling on Donald Trump to address Islamophobia.
“You have said that you will be President for all Americans. So, I ask you Mr. President to take action at this time. Your words and actions are meaningful, here in America and throughout the world,” she said.
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