Lessons from Portland

I am still reeling from the news of two men being stabbed to death in Portland, Oregon, who were defending two Muslim women from a white supremacist spewing anti-Muslim abuse at them on a commuter train.

At a vigil in Portland this evening, a local reporter, Beth Namakura, took some incredible photos of Asha Deliverance, the mother of 22 year old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche. On Twitter, Namakura wrote, “I’m sorry to be photographing Taliesin’s mother but the world needs to see this, see this grieving mother.”

I’m glad Namakura took these photographs because they are a testament to the sacrifice that Namkai-Meche and Ricky John Best, a 53 year old army veteran and father of four, made for two women they didn’t even know. They and a third young man, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, stood up to defend two human beings from the assault of a third. They stood up, spoke out, and lost their lives or were grievously injured because they acted in line with their conscience.

This should also be a huge lesson to those who say that Muslims and non-Muslims can never be friends. White supremacists say this all the time, but so do certain Muslims who use historical episodes in the Quran to justify bigotry and anti-Semitism in today’s world. They don’t know how wrong they are.

Let Portland be a lesson to everyone who believes Muslims and non-Muslims cannot be friends. Let this especially be a lesson to those Muslims who aver that white people and Westerners are our natural enemies. Let Asha Deliverance’s grace in a time of profound grief be the biggest lesson to us all.

I have no words to express how grateful I am for these two men’s sacrifice. I would be proud to call you my brothers.



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