Around 6 p.m. on Aug. 25, Muslim taxi driver Ahmed Sharif picked up a 21-year-old apparently drunk honors film student named Michael Enright. A resident of his parents’ home in Brewster, New York, Enright attended the NY School of Visual Arts. He had returned from Afghanistan, where he filmed friend Cpl. Alex Eckner performing Marine duties. Enright still had notes from the trip with him, and Fox News reported the notes contained no anti-Muslim rants in them. After telling Sharif “Assalamu aleikum,” which means “Peace be upon you,” Enright allegedly proceeded to stab Ahmed repeatedly, according to Deputy Inspector Kim Royster.
Michael Enright’s Alleged Violence a Hate Crime?
Michael Enright’s alleged violent aggression toward Ahmed Sharif is being labeled as a possible hate crime, as religious tensions are at an all-time high in New York due to recent controversy surrounding a proposed Islamic mosque at Ground Zero.
The proposed mosque has escalated tensions on both sides of the issue. In fact, even an ABC News audio operator became aggressive with one mosque protester recently. He has since been reprimanded, according to Media Bistro, and fortunately his aggression did not rise to a physically violent level. His victim, an American, isn’t taking him to court or calling it a hate crime, however.
Mosque Disagreements Not All Leading to Violence
President Obama’s speech at the White House on behalf of the mosque might have incited anger, but it didn’t lead to violence, and neither did New York Mayor Bloomberg’s speech on the topic, which sparked additional controversy and outrage from New York citizens and other Americans, but prompted no physical violence after-the-fact.
Even Hamas, a recognized Islamic terrorist organization by the US State Department, has weighed in on the Muslim mosque debate, insisting the mosque “must be built,” according to the Huffington Post. And yet they really are perpetrators of violent crimes themselves as a means of dealing with disagreements; something the Muslim victim claims Enright did.
Rogue news employee, alleged stabbing perpetrator not the “norm”
Individuals and other entities in America are quite capable of handling growing tensions appropriately. They don’t insist on inciting hate verbally, and they refrain from exacting physical violence to obtain their objectives normally. American citizens know how to respect diversity without sacrificing individuality and opinion.
And all Americans typically abhor the use of violence or force to settle religious or other debates in the court of public opinion, and will expect the accused person charged with this crime to be afforded his day in court as much as they would wish to see the Muslim perpetrators of 9/11 to have their day there too.
This fact alone will go a long way in keeping the Muslim vs. American tensions down on the taxi driver stabbing. For, as the wheels of justice turn in this case, reasonable views about it will prevail as long as the media don’t sensationalize it and justice is done.
But if media and the alleged victim attempt to paint Michael Enright’s alleged drunken rage as nationally sanctioned or a growing anti-Muslim movement, tensions could potentially grow more chilled unnecessarily.
No Anti-Muslim Language In Enright’s Notes
Law enforcement has said there was no anti-Muslim language in Enright’s notes collected that night, and that he had a completely empty scotch bottle on his person after the alleged incident. Allegedly spewing words of hate during a drunken rage has been known to happen long before a mosque proposal in America. We do have 1,200 mosques already, according to Newsbusters, diminishing the “it was a crime motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment” theory.
“NY Official: Cabbie stabbing suspect had written about Afghanistan; driver meets with mayor”, Fox News
“ABC News Reprimands Audio Operator Who Covered Mosque Protest”, Media Bistro
“ABC, CBS: Did ‘Heightened Fear and Prejudice’ of Ground Zero Mosque Prompt NYC Violence?”; Newsbusters
“Hamas Leader: Mosque Near Ground Zero Must be Built”; Huffington Post