On Monday night, a working man, a New York cab driver, was stabbed. His passenger “pulled a knife and slashed him in the throat, arm and lip,” according to NY1. Attacks on cabbies in New York are not shocking. Cab drivers get robbed; It’s a hazard of the profession. But this time, the passenger reportedly asked the cab driver, “Are you Muslim?” The cabbie answered, “Yes.” Then, the slashing began.
If the cab driver’s faith was the sole reason for this attack, that constitutes a hate crime according to New York City law.
Focused hate crimes have been on the rise in New York City as other crimes have dropped. The rise is mainly concentrated on Staten Island and focused on Mexicans. A gay couple was attacked as well, according to an in-depth NY Daily News report.
In total, 125 hate crimes have been committed in New York City this year as of July 23rd, reports the NY Times. New York City has a population of over 8 million people. So, hate crimes are committed by a mere .0016% of the total population. We had nearly 18 hate crimes a month which is approximately one every other day.
Of New York’s 125 hate crimes this year, nine were committed against Muslims, reports Bloomberg News, which is 1 ½ a month. Out of New York City’s eight-million strong population, one person (or persons) attacks a Muslim person, out of hate, once a month.
On Monday night, that one person may have been the cab driver’s passenger. It still needs to be determined, by law, whether or not the slash-attack was a hate crime. Legally, there are specific criterion that distinguish hate crimes from other crimes. The attacker is in police custody and due process will take its course.
Recently, much to many people’s shock and disbelief, the brutal murder of Ecuadoran Jose Sucuzhanay in New York City was deemed by a jury “not” to be a hate crime. So, the cabbie slasher’s fate is far from sealed.
An obvious concern about Monday night’s cabbie-stabbing is its date, Aug. 23, 2010. It is one day after the highly publicized Aug 22 protest of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. The protest was an “anti-mosque” protest.. However, some people have publicized it as an “anti-Muslim” protest such as in this You Tube Video. It has received 723, 695 views to date. In the video, protestors are clearly chanting “No Mosque, Here” not “No Muslims.”
Emotions run high over the proposed mosque. Regardless of a person’s feelings on this or any other issue in our society, New York City law is clear: A hate crime is a serious offense punishable by law. Hate crimes are not tolerated in New York City.
NY1, Police: Cab Driver Stabbed By Passenger Who Asked “Are You Muslim?”, NY1
Sandoval & Lemre, Staten Island gay couple latest victims of hate crimes as bias attacks spike, NY Daily News
Jo Craven McGinty, Breaking Down Hate Crime, New York Times
Chris Dolmetxch, New York City Police to Increase Mosque Patrols During Ramadan Holiday, Bloomberg News
Ablor Ruiz, Brutal murder of Ecuadoran José Sucuzhanay not a hate crime, jury says, NY Daily News
lefthandedart, Anti-muslim Rally at Ground Zero,, You Tube