Police in Portland, United States, arrested a known white supremacist on Saturday and charged him with the murder of two people on a train in a hate-fuelled crime. Jeremy Joseph Christian, who has a Facebook profile filled with racist, Islamophobic and anti-semitic posts, stabbed three people who tried to come to the aid of two women he was harassing because they appeared to be Muslim. Two of them, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche died, while the third victim, Micah Fletcher was treated for minor injuries.
The two women who were allegedly subjected to Christian’s abuse have not been identified yet, though eyewitnesses said they might have been Muslim and one of them was wearing a hijab. The police have asked them to come forward. Christian reportedly shouted slurs about their ethnicity and religion when the men tried to intervene. They cut two of their throats and stabbed one of them. The incident took place on Friday.
Christian has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder and intimidation, as well as for committing a hate crime. He has a history of violence and a criminal record, officials said. He has also been known to participate in alt-right rallies, threatening activists and promoting neo-Nazi ideologies.
Hate crimes in the United States have spiked since Republican candidate Donald Trump took over as president following a campaign filled with vitriolic rhetoric towards minority groups. On February 23, an Indian engineer, Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead in Kansas city, by a white man who reportedly yelled “get out of my country” before attacking him. The incident led to international condemnation, with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs appealing to the US administration to take note.