SLOWLY, the train moved in and around Portland, Oregon, which is famous for its ethnic diversity. It slowed down and stopped at the next station and two girls entered one of the compartments.
Their appearance and the veil which one of them wore clearly show they were Muslims. All of a sudden, one of the passengers started humiliating them with discriminatory racial and religious slurs, despising the girls, Islam and Muslims.
The atmosphere became very tense inside the train. It was clear the man would not stop at his racist behavior. It was clear he was not satisfied with belittling the girls with his insults.
The air was filled with fear that the man was going to hurt the girls, especially since the other passengers in the train looked on with unexpected silence; either fearful for their lives or not to create more confusion since at the heart of the issue were two innocent victims, trembling with fear in front of a despicable racist. No one knew what would be his next move.
A young American in his early twenties, sporting long hair, tried to calm down the aggressive compatriot and kind of tried to protect the two girls. Afraid of the young man, the troublemaker suddenly pulled out a knife from his pocket and attacked the young man and stabbed him several times. The young man lost his life in a pool of blood.
The attack provoked the anger of another American citizen, a former soldier, who approached the murderer in an attempt to stop him. However he too was stabbed several times and he too succumbed to his injuries. A third young man who tried to intervene also received stabs.
The first young American victim is Namkai Meche, 23, who not long had graduated from the Reid College, Portland, Oregon. The second was the former US Army soldier, Ricky John Best, 53. The third American was Micah Fletcher, 21.
Those who know Namkai Meche say they were not surprised by his behavior and that he defended two Muslim women who were subjected to a wave of insults from an American racist. He stood out as a hero, but his heroism made him a martyr, his mother said. His aunt said she was talking to him just moments before he was killed.
She had heard the racist murderer hurling curses and insults and had asked him to hang and tried to record what was happening on the train through the camera in his cell phone as an evidence to be provided to police. She did not ask him to be a hero and asked him to protect the two Muslim girls.
Immediately after the incident, the social media was flooded with condolences from the Americans and especially people from Portland. The people of the area held a candlelight vigil against violence and extremism.
“It was evident the organizers protested against changing the time, so the Muslims of the city could attend and participate in the demonstration to show their grief before breaking the fast.
All this happened in America, and I am not concerned here of the actions of the government. Two wonderful men lost their lives and a third was injured while defending the rights of two Muslim girls. This happens at a time when we are busy involved in fierce arguments between clerics and others if it is ‘halal’ to ask God to have mercy on the two murdered persons.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf