PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Members of the Muslim community in Portland are still coming to terms with the crime that happened on the first night of Ramadan, when a Muslim girl and her friend were the targets of hate speech.
“It was a challenging night,” said Wajdi Said, President of the Muslim Educational Trust. “I didn’t sleep that night trying to process.”
“If it is necessary for them to take the public transportation they have to have somebody with them,” Said said. “Or otherwise they can call us and we’d be happy to escort them.”
He also encouraged people to travel in groups.
Said has been in touch with the Muslim girl involved in the MAX attack and said she hasn’t been out since the day Jeremy Christian allegedly yelled hate speech at her before stabbing three men who stood up to defend her. Said told KOIN 6 News the family has been staying isolated.
He said the family is afraid and the girl is “shattered” and very fragile right now.
“They were surprised that this man had too much hate, too much hate that it expressed to take somebody’s life,” Said said.
The other girl involved has met with Micah Fletcher, the man who survived the stabbing, to thank him for what he did that day. Fletcher said people need to remember “this is about those little girls,” and support them after the traumatic experience.
Said told KOIN 6 News the 17-year-old and her family left Ethiopia for a better life.
“For them as a new immigrant family, it brings for them a lot of memories of violence and war and the reason they’re here,” Said said.
The Muslim girl and her friend are both students at David Douglas High School, where Superintendent Ken Richardson said extra counselors are available for students. Read his full letter to the community here.
Said told KOIN their community is standing by the family.
“We are together,” he said. “We are not going to tolerate hate and bigotry and Islamophobia.”