Two Muslim organizations have launched a crowdfunding campaign to support the families of two men who were stabbed to death in the U.S. city of Portland on Friday when they tried to stop a man from harassing women who appeared to be Muslim.
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The incident unfolded on a commuter train hours before the start of Islam's holy month of Ramadan when a man started yelling ethnic and religious slurs toward two women who appeared to be Muslim. Three men who intervened were stabbed, two fatally. The assailant was arrested and the women left the scene before police could interview them.
"We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action," the campaign's page said, adding that the collected funds will go toward the immediate needs of the grieving families, such as funeral expenses.
As of Saturday, the campaign had managed to raise $23,475, nearly half of its goal of $60,000.
"No amount of money will bring back the victims, but we do hope to lessen their burden in some way and show our heartfelt appreciation for their heroic acts," the campaign's organizers wrote.
Although the initiative was set up by Muslim groups, people of all faiths were welcomed to contribute on the crowdfunding page. "Let's all stand together in solidarity against hate," the page read.
Following the attack, the Council on American-Islamic Relations released a statement saying that anti-Muslim incidents have increased by more than 50 percent in the United States from 2015 to 2016 due in part to U.S. President Donald Trump's focus on militant Islamist groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
"President Trump must speak out personally against the rising tide of Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry and racism in our nation that he has provoked through his numerous statements, policies and appointments that have negatively impacted minority communities," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.