NY1 reports today of a likely hate crime in New York City, which has been the site of an ugly, emotional debate over the proposed Park 51 Islamic community center near the site of Ground Zero. The news station reports that a cab driver was attacked by a young man who appears to have assaulted him due to his Islamic faith. The man reportedly asked the driver if he was Muslim, and when he confirmed that he was, the young man attacked the driver, slashing him “in the throat, arm and lip” with a knife:
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.
Both the driver and the alleged attacker are currently hospitalized in Bellevue Hospital. The first casualty of the “Ground Zero mosque.”
TPM reports that the attacker will be charged with attempted murder and committing a hate crime.
,The New York Times has more details on the attack:
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. [...]
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. [...]
“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.”
,Politico’s Ben Smith finds that Enright is an employee “Internet media company who had recently spent time with a combat unit in Afghanistan filming military exercises until this past May.” He was also a volunteer for Intersections International, an interfaith dialogue group that had recently put out a statement in support of building Park 51.