The drunken passenger that posed the inquiry has been arrested on charges of attempted murder as a hate crime.
Michael Enright, 21, hailed a cab on Monday night on Manhattan’s east side. After entering the vehicle, the AP notes that Enright allegedly asked his driver, Ahmed H. Sharif, if he was Muslim. Sharif responded with a yes, prompting the intoxicated Enright to allegedly pull out a pocket knife tool, reach for the driver’s seat and slash him. (See photos of Muslims in America)
New York Police Department spokeswoman Kim Royster told the wire service that Sharif was treated for gashes to his throat, upper lip, forearm and thumb. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance identified Sharif by name, and in a related news release, added that the confrontation “occured amid tension” over plans for the new cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero. Within that same document, Sharif, who has served 15 years as a cab driver, expressed sadness over the current climate his profession is facing.
Incidents of this nature revert back to TIME’s cover story from last week: Does America have a Muslim problem?