Park 51-Associated Initiative Releases Statement on Accused Muslim Cabbie Stabber

Earlier, we pointed out that the guy who stabbed a cab driver after asking him if he was a Muslim last night, Michael Enright, might look like a guy who works for Intersections International, an interfaith initiative who recently announced their support of Park 51 (also known to many as the "Ground Zero Mosque"). Intersections has now released a statement regarding the matter:

We have learned about an incident wherein one of our volunteers may have been charged with a hate crime in a stabbing incident that involved a New York City cab driver on Tuesday evening.

The alleged perpetrator is not an employee and has never been an employee of Intersections. There is a person who fits the description of the alleged perpetrator who has worked with us as a volunteer, but until we get further confirmation of the details in this incident, we cannot comment.

Our hearts go out to the cab driver, his family and any person who has dealt with such unacceptable violence.

Intersections is on record, explicitly and consistently, as promoting interfaith dialogue and cross cultural cooperation, specifically with our Muslim brothers and sisters. We deplore violence and any act that may be categorized as a hate crime.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all parties in this tragic incident.

Intersections

So, they're not really sure, but he certainly fits the description, even to them. As it was noted earlier, Enright -- the description-fitting volunteer -- was recently in Afghanistan filming some of his best friends from home in combat exercises. The New York Times CityRoom also updated their story on the incident with, well, this:

After falling silent for a few minutes, the passenger began cursing and screaming, and then yelled, "Assalamu alaikum -- consider this a checkpoint!" and slashed Mr. Sharif across the neck, and then on the face from his nose to his upper lip, the alliance said. ("Assalamu alaikum" -- "peace be with you" -- is a traditional Muslim greeting.)

There's going to be criticism and accusations of publications (like this one) trying to contextualize a violent incident like this -- hate crime against a Muslim -- in regards to the debate over Park 51 and the recent "Ground Zero Mosque" fever without a factual confirmation on motives explicitly tied to Park 51. That's fair, because it's exactly what we're doing, and the timing -- as the numbers would have it -- couldn't be more incidental.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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