Student attacks Muslim taxi driver in hate crime
NEW YORK – A university student who did volunteer work in Afghanistan was charged yesterday with slashing a Bangladeshi taxi driver’s neck and face after the driver said he was Muslim.
A criminal complaint alleges Michael Enright uttered an Arabic greeting and told the driver, “Consider this a checkpoint,” before the brutal attack occurred inside the yellow cab on Manhattan’s East Side.
Police say Enright was drunk at the time.
A judge ordered Enright, 21, held without bail on charges of attempted murder and assault as hate crimes and possession of a weapon. The defendant did not enter a plea.
Besides a serious neck wound, cabbie Ahmed Sharif suffered cuts to his forearms, his face and one hand while trying to fend off Enright, prosecutor James Zeleta said.
Defence lawyer Jason Martin told the judge his client was an honours student who lives with his parents in New York.
Enright volunteered for Intersections International, a group that promotes interfaith dialogue and has supported plans for an Islamic centre and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero.
Sharif, a 43-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant who’s driven a cab for 15 years, was quoted as saying the attack left him shaken.
Sharif told authorities that during the trip Enright asked him whether he was a Muslim. When he said yes, Enright attacked him.
After the assault, the driver tried to lock Enright inside the cab and drive to a police station, police said. The attacker jumped out a rear window. An officer noticed the commotion, found Enright slumped on the pavement and arrested him.