Man stabs NYC cabbie after asking "Are you a Muslim?".
A young filmmaker who recently returned from Afghanistan has been charged with stabbing a New York City cab driver the after asking the driver if he was Muslim.
Michael Enright, 21, is being held without bail on charges of attempted murder and assault as a hate crime and weapon possession. T
Enright started out friendly, asking the driver Ahmed Sharif where he was from, how long he had been in America, if he was Muslim and if he was observing fast during Ramadan, Sharif told NBCNewYork.
Then, Sharif claims, Enright began making fun of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and the driver says he remained quiet.
Then after a few moments of silence, Enright allegedly began cursing and screaming, yelled, "Assalamu Alaikum" and "This is a checkpoint," and then slashed Sharif across the neck.
Police say that Enright was carrying a multipurpose tool called a Leatherman, which has a blade in it.
As Sharif went to knock the knife out, the perpetrator, still screaming, slashed the driver in the face, arm and hand.
"I was fighting for life trying to protect myself, but still he was yelling and cursing," said Sharif.
Sharif was able to flee the car and flag down a nearby police officer, who arrested Enright.
"It's being designated as a possible bias crime, but that involves more investigation," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
"It was sad, I feel hopeless, I feel unsafe, and I was shocked," said Shariff, who thought of his four children. "Because if i die there would be no one to take care of them."
Earlier, he had said in a statement that he believes that the current atmosphere in the city has made it difficult to be a Muslim.
"Right now, the public sentiment is very serious [because of the proposed downtown Islamic cultural center. All drivers should be more careful," Shariff said.