Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Hits Home: Bias Attack Against NYC Cabdriver

See, this is why all that anti-Muslim rhetoric isn’t such a good idea:

A city cab driver is in the hospital after being stabbed by a passenger who allegedly asked if he was Muslim, police tell NY1.

Investigators with the New York City Police Department say it all began Monday night when a 21-year-old man hailed a cab at 24th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan.

Police say the passenger asked the driver, “Are you Muslim?” When the driver said yes the passenger pulled a knife and slashed him in the throat, arm and lip.

The 43-year-old driver was able to lock the passenger in the back of the cab and call 911.

Fortunately, this didn’t end in tragedy.

Update: The New York Times has further details on the incident:

The passenger, Michael Enright, 21, of Brewster, N.Y., hailed the cab at Second Avenue and East 24th Street around 6 p.m. Tuesday, the police said. Twenty blocks north, they said, he slashed and stabbed the 43-year-old driver in his throat, face and arm.

The driver, identified by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a drivers’ group, as Ahmed H. Sharif, 43, stopped the cab and approached a police officer on Third Avenue near 42nd Street. Mr. Enright was arrested at the scene.

According to the taxi workers’ alliance, Mr. Sharif’s fare started the ride asking him in a friendly way if he was Muslim, whether he was observing Ramadan, and how long he had been in the United States.

After falling silent for a few minutes, the passenger began cursing and screaming, and then yelled, “Assalamu alaikum — consider this a checkpoint!” and slashed Mr. Sharif across the neck, and then on the face from his nose to his upper lip, the alliance said. (“Assalamu alaikum” — “peace be with you” — is a traditional Muslim greeting.)

Both men were taken to Bellevue Hospital Center. The driver was in stable condition. A law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said Mr. Enright was “very drunk” at the time of the attack.

“I feel very sad,” Mr. Sharif said in a statement released by the taxi workers’ alliance. “I have been here more than 25 years. I have been driving a taxi more than 15 years. All my four kids were born here. I never feel this hopeless and insecure before.”

Enright is charged with attempted murder as a hate crime and other offenses.

FILED UNDER: Islam, Quick Takes, Religion, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    Welcome to Sarah Palin’s America.

  2. Opus #6 says:

    Here is the difference between America and many muslim countries. In America, this young man is a criminal and will be pursued, tried and jailed for attempted murder.

    If the shoe were on the other foot, and the attack happened in a country with Sharia law, as in honor murders, the muslim perpetrators are not sought by police, not brought to justice and not punished.

    Now you are trying to blame Americans for speaking out for what we think is right. That an unhinged young man goes berserk in a cab is our fault? And your solution is for us to stifle our free speech? No. This is a law enforcement issue. I will not stifle my free speech. I will continue to speak out against honor murders. I will continue to defend the Ground Zero grave site. I will continue to speak out in favor of small government and capitalism.

    There is a slippery slope here. But not the one you are talking about.

  3. john personna says:

    Fortunately, this didn’t end in [complete] tragedy.

  4. john personna says:

    That isn’t a real argument Opus. It dodges and weaves away from the main point. That is, if we Americans give up our high values, and empower the low emotions of the mob, then this is what we can expect.

    The unhinged young men are always there, ready to act for any angry speaker who motivates them.

  5. No one is particularly arguing against free speech. What people are arguing is the old “make sure your brain is in gear before engaging mouth” line. The deranged ranting about Islam is liable to provoke violence. Just as the deranged ranting again “Jack Booted Thugs” resulted in Oklahoma City, and just as deranged ranting about the murder of millions of babies results in attacks on medical facilities and providers that perform abortions, etc.

    Speak out if you want, but at least have the courage to admit that incitements to violence are indeed incitements to violence.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    Opus (BTW, classical music or the penquin?)
    Do you really believe that in “Muslim countries” a Muslim could stab a cab driver simply because they were Christian and the authorities would do nothing? You need to get out more.

  7. PD Shaw says:

    And I guess Bernard agrees that when someone reads passages from the Koran and hadith about jihad, the incitement to violence should be recognized as a potential consequence. This particular game goes both ways.

    Me? I think we should treat humans as relatively autonomous actors, not balloons floating at the pulses of political gasses. I also think if it’s established that this criminal instituted this crime not merely against the individual, but the Muslim community, that his sentence should be multiplied to account for the number of his intended victims. (Yes, hate crime sentencing)

  8. sam says:

    NYPD Charges Man With Hate Crime After He Allegedly Stabbed Muslim Cab Driver

    The New York Police Department has confirmed to TPM that a cab driver in Manhttan was allegedly stabbed by a passenger who asked if the cabbie was Muslim, and says the incident is being treated as a hate crime. The suspect has been charged with attempted murder and other crimes.

    … Enright has been charged with “attempted murder two as a hate crime, assault with a weapon as a hate crime, aggravated harassment second degree because of race and religion, and criminal possession of a weapon.”

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/nypd_charges_man_with_hate_crime_after_allegedly_stabbing_muslim_cabbie.php

  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***No one is particularly arguing against free speech. What people are arguing is the old “make sure your brain is in gear before engaging mouth” line. The deranged ranting about Islam is liable to provoke violence. Just as the deranged ranting again “Jack Booted Thugs” resulted in Oklahoma City, and just as deranged ranting about the murder of millions of babies results in attacks on medical facilities and providers that perform abortions, etc.****

    lol wow, no mention of the deranged ranting about big oil, cutting down trees, eating animals,the free market, cutting taxes,fur coats, whales, free stuff,whitey, racism, the OJ trial, Bush, Our soldiers at war time, or the rules for punkU$$ ******* radicals.
    I could go on and on
    But DAMN!!!!!!!!

    The Democratic party, the most vile violent and terrorist party in the history of the United States PEROID!!!!!!!!!

    Show me were your trumped up Bull $hit compares to the way of the Democrats and everything liberal?

    Man some of you people have the mental capacity of a melted pi$$ ice cube!!!!!!

  10. Alex Knapp says:

    @PD –

    The Qu’ran specifically prohibits forced conversions. See e.g. Sura 2, verse 256: “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.”

  11. “And I guess Bernard agrees that when someone reads passages from the Koran and hadith about jihad, the incitement to violence should be recognized as a potential consequence. This particular game goes both ways.”

    Well, yeah, of course. People who preach hatred and intolerance often incite violence. The difference, I guess, is that Osama bin Laden admits he’s inciting violence. He does not pretend that his lunatic rants against “crusaders and zionists” are just some dispassionate free speech.

    I have to admit, I never understand this sort of argument, which essentially claims that because our enemies do something we are justified in similar behavior. The point is that we rightly consider Osama evil for his calls for his incitement of violence against civilians as a form of collective reprisal against American policy, but somehow it is not evil when we collectively blame Muslims for things like 9/11. I really don’t get it. We’re better than that.

    And G.A.? I think you need to check your meds.

  12. PD Shaw says:

    Bernard, I’m rejecting the argument from both sides. Murderers are not normal people; I’ve met a few. They were without exception either crazy (in not necessarily in a legal sense) or suffering from severe drug problems. To start suggesting that heated political rhetoric creates culpability is like blaming Scorsese for the attempted assassination of Reagan. There are broken, damaged people scattered all among us.

    But who is inciting violence against Muslims? Is there anything that’s been said that is akin to a command to kill infidels? Now, I don’t think regular American Muslims believe that the Koran exhorts them to kill infidels. And I don’t think anything I’ve heard Palin or Gingrich say have incited violence either.

  13. You don’t think that talking about “terror babies” or a desire to build a “memorial to conquest at ground zero” represents incitement to violence?

    And yes, there are deranged people among us. That is a why responsible people exercise some discretion in what they say rather than just pandered to the most emotional, politically convenient gibberish available.

  14. Juneau: says:

    All the Progs here have been soundly caught with their pants down around their ankles. Turns out the assailant works for a pro-park51 group. Nothing hurts quite so much as getting all incensed over an example of “anti-muslim” sentiment and then finding out it’s one of your own that got caught trying to dress up as the other side. This one’s going to leave a mark… Unless of course the media drops the story like a hot potato – all in the interest of “not fanning the flames of discrimination”, naturally.

  15. PD Shaw says:

    No, I won’t consider those phrases an incitement to violence. It’s the type of name-calling and motive denigration that every side engages in all the time in a free society.

  16. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Sometimes if you just wait for the facts before jumping into the pool, not knowing which is the deep end can save you from looking foolish. Turns out the guy doing the stabbing was an employee of the Pro 21Park group. Now I have to fast foward to see how those who’s opinions were so bias here try to reclaim whatever they think they can reclaim.

  17. William Teach says:

    I guess it wasn’t all that “anti-muslim” rhetoric, and it isn’t “Sara Palin’s American,” just an drunk liberal getting violent.

    I wonder if this post will ever be updated to reflect the reality of the situation?

  18. Steve Plunk says:

    I agree that just because our enemies do it we are not justified in doing it ourselves but aren’t we still obligated to call out any injustice? It seems many want us to ignore them.

    anjin? Now that the facts are becoming clearer is your linking of this crime to Sarah Palin still valid or did you just spout off without engaging your thinking cap?

    Time and again I find the liberals here speaking before the facts are in and jumping to conclusions based upon their dislike of conservatives. Slow down a bit with your indignation please. At least until we can get the facts and make the appropriate judgments.

  19. tom p says:

    Wow… so many people who can read the minds of others….

    All I know is some whacko tried to cut the thoat of a muslim at a time of particularly high insult against muslims…

    Now, I ain’t saying why he did it… but a whole lot of people are way too eager to tell me what the reasons WEREN’T for why he did it.

    Maybe this is one of those times when we should all wait for the facts?????

  20. anjin-san says:

    > I will continue to defend the Ground Zero grave site.
    What plans are there to desecrate it? The real Ground Zero, not the Giant Economy Size one created by Palin and Newt for political reasons.

    > I will continue to speak out in favor of small government and capitalism
    Were you speaking out in favor of small government when Bush was engaged in an unprecideneted expansion of the federal government? And who exactly is opposed to capitalism?