One doesn't want to make a link between this incident and the hatred that many on the right have been stoking, but as Brzezinski states in a clip further down the page, it's kind of hard not to.
Michael Enright, a 21-year-old film student who had been recently trailing Marines in Afghanistan, started a conversation with a taxi driver, asking him if he was Muslim and, when told he was, saying that he hoped he had a good Ramadan. Then the conversation turned nasty.
Then, he said, Mr. Enright began making fun of the rituals of Ramadan, and Mr. Sharif sensed this cab ride might not be like any other.Brzezinski says what I think everyone must be thinking.
“So I stopped talking to him,” Mr. Sharif said. “He stopped talking, too.”
As the cab inched up Third Avenue and reached 39th Street, Mr. Sharif said in a phone interview, Mr. Enright suddenly began cursing at him and shouting “This is the checkpoint” and “I have to bring you down.” He said he told him he had to bring the king of Saudi Arabia to the checkpoint.
“He was talking like he was a soldier,” Mr. Sharif said.
He withdrew a Leatherman knife, Mr. Sharif said, and, reaching through the opening in the plastic divider, slashed Mr. Sharif’s throat. When Mr. Sharif turned, he said, Mr. Enright stabbed him in his face, on his arm and on his thumbs.
Mr. Sharif said he told him: “I beg of you, don’t kill me. I worked so hard, I have a family.”
How do you ignore the link between the Nazi comparisons of Ginrgich and the Park 51 mosque and a violent act against a Muslims in the very city where this hate is being stoked? Though I note that Buchanan, another person who has made such comparisons, sits quietly when Scarborough berates Gingrich for this kind of behaviour.
Muslim groups have called for the rhetoric to be softened.
Now we will hear the inevitable claims from the right that there is absolutely no correlation between this incident and the hate they have been stirring over the Park 51 mosque.
Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement: “As other American minorities have experienced, hate speech often leads to hate crimes. Sadly, we’ve seen how the deliberate public vilification of Islam can lead some individuals to violence against innocent people.”In a statement, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “This attack runs counter to everything that New Yorkers believe, no matter what God we may pray to.” He said he had spoken to Mr. Sharif and told him “ethnic or religious bias has no place in our city.”
And, whilst it's true that none of us can ever establish whether or not this incident had anything to do with the hatemongering being pushed by the right, it is also true that their behaviour made an incident like this more likely to happen, not less.
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