Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hate Crime in New York - cabbie stabbed

As I feared, Islamophobia has its latest victim in a hate crime that saw a Muslim cab driver in New York city severely stabbed several times by a White American. The Republican leaders and right wing conservative talk show hosts cannot escape from being held responsible for spreading hate crime against Muslims. Such propaganda and hatemongering is sure to bring the worst from bigots and chauvinists.

Here is the report from the USA Today:
NEW YORK — A Manhattan cabbie who was stabbed Tuesday night by a Putnam County man questioned Wednesday whether the attack stemmed from the contentious debate over creating a mosque near ground zero.

Ahmed H. Sharif, 43, of Queens, was stabbed several times by Michael Enright, 21, of Southeast, N.Y., after Enright had asked Sharif if he was Muslim and the cabbie responded that he was, a police spokesman said.

When officers responded to the scene around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sharif was outside the vehicle, suffering from stab wounds, after attempting to lock Enright inside the cab, a police spokesman said. Enright escaped but was captured nearby by police.

The charges against Enright include attempted murder as a hate crime.

In a statement Wednesday the from New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Sharif warned his fellow cabbies.

"Right now the public sentiment is very serious" because of the ground zero mosque debate, he said. "All drivers should be more careful."

Sharif, who was treated at Bellevue Hospital for stab wounds to his arms, throat and face, said the incident made him sad.

"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," he said.

It was Sharif's first fare of his shift.

Enright, a 2007 graduate of Brewster High School and an aspiring filmmaker, recently returned from Afghanistan, where he filmed Marines as part of a project for the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where he is a student. In Afghanistan, he was embedded with a Marines Corps crew that included his fellow Brewster High graduate, Cpl. Alex Eckner.

Enright was highly intoxicated when he hailed the cab, the police spokesman said. Once inside the cab, Enright asked Sharif whether Sharif was Muslim. When Sharif responded yes, Enright stabbed him several times with some type of utility knife.

According to the statement from the Taxi Workers Alliance, Enright's conversation with Sharif started out friendly, with Enright asking the cabbie where he was from, how long he had been in America, if he was Muslim and if he was observing Ramadan.

Enright then went silent before suddenly cursing and screaming, the statement said.

He then shouted "'Assalamu Alaikum,' common among Muslims as a wish for peace, before pulling out the knife and slashing Sharif across the neck and stabbing several more times as Sharif tried to knock it out of Enright's hands, the alliance said.

Enright was charged with attempted second-degree murder as a hate crime, first-degree assault, felonies, aggravated harassment and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, misdemeanors. He is awaiting arraignment.

Enright also worked with Intersections International, a Manhattan-based, multifaith and multicultural effort that seeks to promote justice and peace. Messages left with the School of Visual Arts and Intersections International were not immediately returned.

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