21 year-old Michael Enright has been arrested in relation to stabbing a New York cab driver in what is believed to be an anti-Muslim hate crime. Ahmed Sharif picked up his passenger on Tuesday evening when Enright began to make anti-Muslim remarks towards his cab driver and then proceeded to stab him in the throat, face, and arm, reports the New York Times.
The 43 year-old Sharif was able to stop the cab following the encounter and police arrested Enright on the scene. He is now in stable condition, still recovering in a local hospital. Sharif released a statement through the New York Taxi Workers Alliance: "I feel very sad. I have been here for more than 25 years. I have been driving a taxi for more than 15 years. All my four kids were born here. I never feel this hopeless and insecure before."
Michael Enright has been charged with attempted murder as a hate crime, criminal assault, aggravated harassment with criminal possession of a weapon. Before attacking Sharif, Enright asked him conversational questions about his religion and his beliefs. He then began to violently curse Sharif and yelled, "Assalamu, Alaikum, consider this a checkpoint," right before attacking the unsuspecting Sharif. Police reported that Enright appeared extremely intoxicated at the time of the incident.
Hate crimes come in many manifestations, but this particular attack causes considerable concern for the many Muslim cab drivers in New York. Bhairivi Desai, Executive Director of New York Taxi Workers Alliance stated, "This kind of bigotry only breeds more violence and makes taxi drivers all the more vulnerable on the streets where there are more bully pulpits or podiums to hide behind." Enright will be arraigned later today.
- Taxi Driver Stabbed After Passenger Asks if he is Muslim (CNN)
- Hate Crime: The Violence of Intolerance (FindLaw)
- New FBI Hate Crime Statistics Released (FindLaw's Blotter)