The suspect in a fatal stabbing spree on a Portland, Oregon, commuter train yelled remarks about “free speech” as he entered the courtroom where he was being arraigned on Tuesday on charges of attacking bystanders who intervened when he shouted religious slurs at two women of Muslim appearance.
Suspect Jeremy Joseph Christian, a 35-year-old convicted felon, entered the courtroom yelling “Free speech or die, Portland. You got no safe place. This is America – get out if you don’t like free speech.” As he was escorted out of the courtroom after the arraignment, Christian shouted, “Death to the enemies of America. Leave this country if you hate our freedoms… You call it terrorism. I call it patriotism.”
One of the two women who was the target of the religious slurs on Friday, Destinee Mangum, who was with a friend wearing a Muslim head scarf, said in a video posted on CNN’s website on Monday that she did not know the men who intervened and thanked them for putting their lives on the line.
Trump condemned the stabbings on Monday, calling them “unacceptable.” “The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them,” he said on Twitter.
Trump’s remarks came after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on him to condemn the rampage and speak out against what the advocacy group sees as an increase in anti-Islamic sentiment. Anti-Muslim incidents increased more than 50 percent in the United States last year, it said.