Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, died along with Rick Best, 53, when the pair intervened as suspected white supremacist Jeremy Joseph Christian hurled abuse on a train in Portland in the US. The suspect, Jeremy Joseph Christian, was later arrested. The 35-year-old is due to appear in court charged with two counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.
The FBI said it was still unsure if Mr Christian – who allegedly said “all Muslims should die” during the attack – will face charges for hate crime.
US President Donald Trump has yet to mention the attack.
The sickening events in Portland have highlighted the state of America at the moment. Hate crime is at astonishing levels which have been fuelled by a President who has made it his agenda to demonise Muslims and stir up more hatred towards the Islamic faith.
The number of hate groups specifically targeting Muslims in the US has nearly tripled in the past year with Islamophobic hate crime soaring, according to a new report.
Researchers The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) attributed the dramatic spike to Donald Trump’s campaign, saying his success “energised” the radical right.
The number of anti-Muslim organisations known to be operating in the country rose from just 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016, according to the non-profit’s Annual Census of Hate Groups and Extremist Organisations.
The total number of hate groups in the United States also rose for a second year in a row, but less steeply—from 892 to 917.
The organisation reported “a rash of crimes targeting Muslims,” including an arson that destroyed a mosque in Victoria, Texas, just hours after the Trump administration announced an executive order suspending travel from seven majority-Muslim countries.
The latest FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 percent in 2015, the year in which Mr Trump launched his campaign.
The survey, contained in the spring 2017 issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, includes a ‘Hate Map’ showing the names, types and locations of hate groups across the country.
It shows a cluster of anti-Muslim groups on the East Coast, and dozens of others dotted across the US.
“2016 was an unprecedented year for hate,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow and editor of the Intelligence Report.
“The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists. In Steve Bannon, these extremists think they finally have an ally who has the president’s ear.”
The SPLC added they believe Mr Trump’s “incendiary rhetoric”, including his campaign pledge to ban Muslims from entering the United States, had combined with anger over terrorist attacks, such as the June massacre of 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, to fuel the rise in anti-Muslim hate.
Although the FBI have not yet released statistics for hate crimes against Muslims for 2016, the SPLC said they had measured an increase in other ways.
In the first 10 days after Mr Trump’s election, the SPLC documented 867 bias-related incidents, including more than 300 that targeted immigrants or Muslims.
In a post-election SPLC survey of 10,000 educators, 90 per cent said the climate at their schools had been negatively affected by the Trump campaign.
“Eighty per cent described heightened anxiety and fear among students, particularly immigrants, Muslims and African Americans,” the organisation said. “Numerous teachers reported the use of slurs, derogatory language and extremist symbols in their classrooms.”
It is an indictment on the United States of America that it’s President will seldom deliver an immediate response to the killing of innocents, who fatally defended a minority group like Muslims, but will happily respond to celebrity spats on Twitter. In recent months, anti Muslim rhetoric has evolved and gained momentum under the conditions of the “war on terror”. Muslims have been associated with violence and disorder, when in fact it is the Muslim community that are the victims of hate crime and intolerance across the US and indeed the western hemisphere.
The statistics speak for themselves that America is not the melting pot which it portrays to the world, especially for Muslims. The US continues to struggle with community cohesion and has failed with it’s oldest minority communities.
The hands of America are still bloody from the brutal treatment of Native Indians and the so called ‘original sin’ of slavery of Black people brought from Africa to build the nation. Police brutality remains part of normal life for Black America, where even young people are not deserving of any mercy from law enforcement agencies.
Muslims with their other fellow minority groups are simply part of the wider problem of intolerance of communities. The rise of hate crime against the Muslim community is the continuation of the historical tradition of state oppression by the US government, only this time it is headed by Donald Trump. America is in no position to lecture the world on morality or civilisation when the society which it has built is plagued by racism and prejudice.
The unfortunate aspect of America is that it will remain in this position, as long it remains committed to the idea of stars and stripes.