New York Muslim Cabbie Attack Victim: “I Never Felt This Hopeless And Insecure Before”
Michael Enright is being charged with felony attempted murder as a hate crime in the case of the Muslim New York cab driver who was slashed by a boozed-up bigot. Enright, who had just returned from filming Marines in Afghanistan, used a pocket knife on Ahmed Sharif, a 43-year-old father of four.
Enright slashed Sharif across the face, arm and hand after asking the Bangladesh-born cabbie if he was Muslim and then saying ‘As-salaam alaikum’ – which means ‘peace be unto you’ in Arabic, cops said.
The suspect also yelled, “Consider this a checkpoint” – an apparent reference to security screening in Afghanistan – as he wildly thrust his knife through the open glass partition at Sharif, said Manhattan Assistant District Attorney James Zaleta.
“The EMT on the scene said if the cut had been any longer or deeper he [Sharif] would have been dead on the scene,” Zaleta said at Enright’s arraignment Wednesday.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has invited Sharif to City Hall Friday and believes this was caused by anti-Muslim bias.
Enright was arraigned on charges of second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime and first-degree assault as a hate crime. He was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon and ordered held without bail. He faces 8 to 25 years in prison if convicted.
In an odd twist, Enright was a volunteer for Intersections International, a Manhattan-based group that promotes peace among different religions. A spokesman confirmed he was filming for the group, which recently threw its support behind the controversial Park 51 mosque project near Ground Zero.
Sharif believes the attack was fueled by the current debate over the location of an Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero.
“I feel very sad,” Sharif said, according to a statement released by the Taxi Workers Alliance.
“I never feel this hopeless and insecure before,” added the Queens father of four who has been in the United States for 25 years. “Right now, the public sentiment is very serious (because of the Ground Zero mosque debate). All [taxi] drivers should be more careful.”Click here for reuse options!
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