Un­ease about white supremacy grows

Cape Breton Post - - News | World - BY GILLIAN FLACCUS AND STEVEN DUBOIS

Un­ease about white su­prem­a­cist ac­tiv­ity in Port­land deep­ened af­ter the fa­tal stab­bings of two men who tried to shield young women from an anti-Mus­lim tirade, and some peo­ple worry that the fa­mously tol­er­ant com­mu­nity could see a resur­gence of the hos­til­i­ties that once earned it the nick­name “Sk­in­head City.”

The at­tack aboard a light-rail train hap­pened Friday, the first day of Ra­madan, the holi­est time of the year for Mus­lims. Authorities say Jeremy Joseph Chris­tian started ver­bally abus­ing two young women, in­clud­ing one wear­ing a hi­jab. When three other men on the train in­ter­vened, police say, Chris­tian at­tacked them, killing two and wound­ing one.

Chris­tian, 35, was sched­uled to ap­pear in court Tues­day to face two counts of mur­der and other charges.

The deaths stunned the city, but also un­der­scored ner­vous­ness about re­cent events, in­clud­ing a se­ries of ap­par­ent hate crimes in the re­gion and con­tentious pub­lic rallies that have drawn national at­ten­tion.

The Pa­cific North­west has

a long and vi­o­lent his­tory of white su­prem­a­cist and other racist ac­tiv­i­ties, de­spite its more re­cent rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing one of the na­tion’s most so­cially lib­eral re­gions.

“The idea that Port­land is so lib­eral su­per­sedes this dark, hid­den se­cret about racism,” said Karen Gib­son, a pro­fes­sor of ur­ban stud­ies at Port­land State Univer­sity.

Many of the early set­tlers to Ore­gon were from South­ern states and brought with them neg­a­tive at­ti­tudes about blacks, Gib­son said.

Only about 6 per cent of the Port­land pop­u­la­tion is black, while more than 70 per cent is non-His­panic white, sta­tis­tics show.

On Mon­day, Mayor Ted Wheeler asked the fed­eral govern­ment to re­voke a per­mit it is­sued for a June 4 rally in down­town Port­land, say­ing he fears it could fur­ther en­flame ten­sions.

The Saturday event or­ga­nized by the group Pa­triot Prayer is billed on its Face­book page as a Trump Free Speech Rally in “one of the most lib­eral ar­eas of the West Coast.”

Sev­eral counter-protests are planned, in­clud­ing one that bills it­self as an anti-cap­i­tal­ist march and an­other that calls it­self anti-fas­cist.

JOHN RUDOFF VIA AP

In an April 29 photo pro­vided by John Rudoff, Jeremy Joseph Chris­tian (right) is seen dur­ing a Pa­triot Prayer or­ga­nized by a pro-Trump group in Port­land, Ore. Chris­tian, who police say fa­tally stabbed two other men who tried to shield young women from an anti-Mus­lim tirade on a Port­land light-rail train Friday, made his ini­tial court ap­pear­ance in Port­land Tues-

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