The Muslim cab driver who was stabbed earlier this week in a likely hate crime met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday, telling the mayor that despite the hateful incident, he is still proud of New York and its multicultural tolerance. While he said he is haunted by the incident, the driver — Ahmed Sharif — told Bloomberg that he still believes “this is the city actually [for] all colors, races, religion, everyone“:
But the Bangladeshi immigrant said he’s still glad to be a New Yorker.
“I feel like I belong here,” he said. “This is the city actually [for] all colors, races, religion, everyone. We live here side by side peacefully.” [...]
“From my back, he attacked me,” Sharif said. “It still is very sad, and it shocked me. And sometimes, I feel very lonely and unsafe.”
Sharif’s stabbing comes in the midst of the ugly and emotional debate taking place in NYC over the proposed Park 51 Islamic community center near the site of Ground Zero. Asked during a press conference with Sharif if he believed the attack was related to the mosque debate, Bloomberg said he wasn’t sure. Appearing on the Daily Show later that day, Bloomberg scorned the hateful tone of the opposition to the mosque, saying, “This is plain and simple people trying to stir up things to get publicity and trying to polarize people so that they can get some votes.” Still, he defended the opposition’s right to speak out, saying free speech is “what’s great about America.”