Portland march against Shariah law canceled

Posted June 02, 2017

It says the aim of #MarchAgainstSharia is to promote human rights. But I also believe that we have a significant and imminent public safety issue that I think justified my call to the federal government to withdraw the permit.

The mayor of Portland had an opportunity to bring his community together in the wake of this tragedy, honoring the sacrifice of the men who died and were injured defending two young women from a lunatic, and leaving it at that.

TEMPLETON: Well, all of this stems from an incident Friday when the suspect boarded a MAX train and then, according to witnesses, began to direct a biased rant against two teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab, and then proceeded to stab the men who tried to intervene.

Police said Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy Valley, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, were killed in the attack. He was charged with two counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.

Christian grabbed his belongings, exited the train and used the knife to threaten several people on the platform, the affidavit said. "They were attacked viciously by the suspect". He also noted the bad timing of the alt-right events in relation to the seemingly racially-motivated double murders. "Our community's anger is real, and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate an already hard situation".

Mayor Ted Wheeler said he appreciated Trump's words but stressed the need for action.

Also Wednesday, an organizer canceled an anti-Shariah law rally that had been planned for June 10 in downtown Portland.

It comes amid a wider debate in the US about the First Amendment, often in liberal cities like Portland and Berkeley, California, and on college campuses, where violent protests between far-right and far-left protesters have derailed appearances by contentious figures.

On Tuesday, Wheeler reiterated his call to organizers of a June 4 rally to cancel, saying he fears it could further enflame tensions.

Despite all of this evidence that the man who committed the attack was not a Trump-supporting anti-sharia advocate, the mayor has targeted those two rallies, citing hate speech as a reason to shut them down.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks with citizens at the Hollywood vigil.

"Hate speech" is repugnant but it is also constitutionally protected. Is a "Free Speech" Rally designed result in more stabbings?

Christian yelled as he walked into the courtroom Tuesday: "Get out if you don't like free speech!" and "You call it terrorism; I call it patriotism".

Organizer Joey Gibson rejected that characterization and said his event will promote "freedom and love".

"There's going to be more intensity, there's going to be more threats", Gibson said.

"Jeremy Christian has nothing to do with us".

Permit or no permit, Gibson says that folks will be coming to Portland for the June 4 event, with many attendees heading to the alt-right rally from out of the area.

The two gatherings - backed by different organizers - are planned for a park on federal land, which gives federal authorities control over issuing permits.

"Our hearts are broken, but government censorship is not the answer". And we know that it's tempting to solve the problem by preventing the speech in the first place, rather than investing in the resources necessary to ensure that demonstrations remain peaceful and that potentially violent counter-demonstrators don't exercise a "heckler's veto".

According to Mayor Wheeler, the upcoming rallies should be scrapped out of respect for the victim's families.