Last week, a white supremacist started screaming anti-Islamic slurs at two Muslim girls on a commuter train in Portland. After three men rose from their seats to defend the young women, the attacker pulled a knife and stabbed the men, killing two and putting the third in the hospital.
Two Muslim organizations launched a fundraising campaign to help with medical bills and funeral expenses for the victims of the attack, saying on the website “We wish to respond to hate with love, to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.”
They hoped to raise $60,000, but it took only five hours to pass that goal. As of Friday afternoon, they had raised more than a half a million dollars. This is not the first time something like this has happened:
The inspiring display of interfaith solidarity follows a long history of Muslim groups raising money for victims of tragedy. When black churches across the country were struck by a wave of arson attacks in 2015, for example, Muslim groups pulled together $90,000 to help their neighbors with repairs. And when Jewish cemeteries were desecrated earlier this year, Islamic organizations helped raise more than $65,000 to aid with clean up efforts. Other faith groups have returned the favor: when a mosque in Tampa, Florida burned to the ground in February, Jewish groups rallied to accrue more than $60,000 to help rebuild.
It is sad that things like this are necessary. Unfortunately, hate incidents against religious groups are on the rise.