[Photo: Michael Enright confessed he slashed cab driver Ahmed Sharif's throat with a knife once he knew he was a Muslim]
By Elham Asaad Buaras
A student from Brewster, New York, pleaded guilty to attempted murder on June 10 after stabbing a taxi driver in an Islamophobic attack in August 2010.
After hailing a taxi in Manhattan one evening, Michael Enright asked the driver, Ahmed Sharif, whether he was a Muslim.
When Sharif replied that he was, Enright slashed Sharif’s throat with a knife, stabbed at his face, arms and hands and yelled anti-Muslim comments, prosecutors said.
Sharif, who is of Bangladeshi descent, survived the attack, and later he appeared with Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a news conference where he said he believed he was stabbed only because of his religion.
The father of four was left with permanent scars on his face, neck and arm, prosecutors said.
Enright pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted murder as a hate crime and a charge of assault as a hate crime and faces up to 9 years in prison. He is due to be sentenced on June 25.
Enright initially told police that Sharif tried to rob him and he’d defended himself, prosecutors said. The film student later declared to police that he was “a patriot,” according to prosecutors.
Prosecutor James Zaleta argued that Enright deserved an 18-year prison term for a “vicious, cold-blooded attack.”
“After insulting the tenets of Islam and mocking the restrictions of Ramadan, the defendant, unprovoked, reached through the cab partition and sliced the victim across his neck,” Zaleta said.