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Man who slashed Muslim charged with hate crimes

Thursday, August 26, 2010 01:22:28 PM, IANS

More Americans have unfavourable views on Islam

The number of Americans viewing Islam favourably has declined since 2005, but there is little change in those saying that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence, according to a new poll   »

New York: A 21-year old man was arraigned Wednesday in Manhattan Criminal Court, accused of attempted murder and hate crimes on a Muslim taxi driver, New York authorities said.

Michael Enright calmly discussed Islam with the cabbie before slashing him from behind with a utility knife, authorities said.

He faced charges of second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime, first-degree assault as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.

Enright, who could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted, was ordered held without bail.

Prosecutors alleged that the accused waved down a cab driven by Ahmed Sharif, 43, a Bangladeshi immigrant, Tuesday night in Manhattan.

After getting in the cab, Enright reportedly discussed cultural and religious issues, asking if Sharif was Muslim, his observance of the current Ramadan month of fasting, and how long he had been in the US.

Then, Enright told the driver "consider this a checkpoint," before lashing out from the back seat with a knife. He slashed at Sharif's throat, as the cabbie turned and suffered further wounds to his face and arms, a prosecutor told the court.

Sharif drove on to find a police officer, who arrested Enright.

Sharif's neck wound was "open halfway across his throat" and could easily have been fatal, the prosecutor said. "This is a highly vicious attack on an innocent person based on his religion."

A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Times that Enright was "very drunk" during the incident.

An art student, Enright recently travelled to Afghanistan while making a documentary about US soldiers, the Times reported. He has also worked as a volunteer with a New York group that promotes cross-cultural understanding.

 

 

 

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