The three Americans, white males who intervened to stop an Islamophobic attack on two teenagers by a white supremacist terrorist in Portland, USA have been widely hailed as heroes.
On Ramadan eve last Friday 26 May, African-American, Destinee Mangnum, 16 and her Hijabi Muslim friend, while travelling on MAX light rail, Portland, Oregon were targeted by Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35 who shouted Islamophobic slurs at them like “get out of my country”, “go kill yourselves”, “go back to Saudi Arabia”, “Muslims should die”.
Frightened the girls moved to the back of the train and waited to get out at the next stop.
A stranger intervened telling Christian that he “can’t disrespect young ladies like that” and an argument ensued with two more people joining to calm down Christian.
Then the terrorist pulled out a knife and stabbed to death two men Ricky John Best, 53 and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23 and injured Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21 who was taken to hospital in a serious condition but is expected to survive.
Mr Best of Happy Valley and a father of four died at the scene. The military veteran worked as a technician for the city of Portland.
Mr Namkai-Meche of Portland died at the hospital. He had graduated from Portland’s Reed College with a degree in economics last year and had just begun his career working at an environmental consulting agency.
Mr Namkai-Meche’s mother wrote on her Facebook, “He was a hero and will remain a hero on the other side of the veil. Shining bright star I love you forever.”
The surviving hero, Mr Fletcher had won a 2013 poetry competition with a poem condemning Islamophobia.
The killer, Jeremy Joseph Christian is alleged to be a Trump supporter and a known local white supremacist.
Christian was filmed in April, at a march by far-right groups, draped in American Revolutionary War flag and can be seen performing a Nazi salute and heard shouting “Die Muslims. Die fake Christians. Die Jews”, as police watched on.
Many on social media hailed the two victims as heroes as they promoted crowdfunding pages to support their grieving families. More than a million dollars have been collected within a few days of the incident.
Tributes to the dead men have already been paid by other politicians, including Portland’s mayor, Oregon governor Kate Brown and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who described their deaths as “heartbreaking.”
In a post on Facebook, Mr Awad of Council on American-Islamic Relations called on US President Donald Trump to denounce the rising tide of violence toward Muslim Americans, laying part of the blame at US President’s feet. Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley agreed with Mr Awad’s assessment.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said, “There is too much hatred in the world right now and far too much violence. Our current political climate allows far too much room for those who spread bigotry. Violent words can lead to violent acts.”
In an open letter urging Mr Trump to speak out, veteran journalist Dan Rather suggested to Mr Trump that the murders did not “fit neatly into a narrative you pushed on the campaign trail” because the victims “were not killed by an undocumented economic migrant or a ‘radical Islamic terrorist’”.
“I wish we could hear you say these names, or even just tweet them. They were brave Americans who died at the hands of someone who, when all the facts are collected, we may have every right to call a terrorist,” Mr Rather wrote.
US President Trump had been facing mounting criticism for his silence over the deaths of the Portland heroes since last Friday while tweeting on his personal account on other matters.
Finally, on Monday the Presidential Twitter account said: “The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.”