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Muslims Create Fund To Aid Victims, Families Of Portland Killings

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche was one of two men who died in the Portland incident.
Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche was one of two men who died in the Portland incident.

Muslims in the U.S. city of Portland, Oregon, said they were raising money for the families of two men who were killed when they came to the defense of two young women 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, said on May 28.

He added that the two teenagers -- one of whom was wearing a hijab -- "could have been the victims, but three heroes jumped in and supported them." The girls are reportedly aged 16 and 17.

A fundraising page has been launched by his group for the families of the dead men, an injured victim, and the two girls. It had raised $50,000 in its first hours, Najieb said.

Police said they arrested Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, who is accused of killing the two men on May 26.

Christian posted images and comments on social media indicating an affinity for Nazis and political violence.

The incident reportedly began when Christian began shouting religious and ethnic slurs at the two teen girls whom he took to be Muslims on board a commuter train.

Police Sergeant Pete Simpson said the assailant was ranting and using "hate speech or biased language."

Christian is scheduled to make his first court appearance on May 30.

Police identified the fatalities as Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy Valley, Oregon, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, of Portland.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa