New York Muslim taxi driver stabbed
Passenger held for hate crime after assaulting Yellow Cab driver with a folding knife.
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2010 20:38 GMT
Rallies broke out in New York City over the building of an Islamic cultural centre near the World Trade Centre

A drunken passenger of a taxi in New York City has been arrested for assaulting the driver after finding out he is Muslim, police say.

Michael Enright, who slashed Ahmed Sharif with a folding knife, was detained by police on Tuesday night on charges including attempted murder as a hate crime.

Sharif, who has been a Yellow Cab driver for 15 years, told police that when he answered "yes" to Enright's question on whether he was Muslim or not, the passenger pulled out his weapon and stabbed him repeatedly.

Kim Royster, a New York police spokeswoman, said the victim has been treated for lacerations to the throat, upper lip, forearm and thumb following the incident.

Enright, 21, was expected to appear in court in the city of Manhattan late on Wednesday.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a labour rights group, noted that the attack occurred amid tension over plans for a new Islamic cultural centre and mosque in Manhattan near the World Trade Center site.

"I feel very sad,'' Sharif was quoted as saying in a statement from the group.

"In the current climate, all drivers should be more careful."

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