Anti-Muslim feeling in NYC

The following video is a trailer for an independent film being produced as a senior thesis at the School of Visual Arts.

The filmaker also volunteers at a non-profit company that promotes intercultural understanding.  And Tuesday he brutally attacked a Muslim cab driver:

According to the taxi workers’ alliance, Mr. Sharif’s fare started the ride asking him in a friendly way if he was Muslim, whether he was observing Ramadan, and how long he had been in the United States.

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.)

Both men were taken to Bellevue Hospital Center. The driver was in stable condition. A law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said Mr. Enright was “very drunk” at the time of the attack.

“I feel very sad,” Mr. Sharif said in a statement released by the taxi workers’ alliance. “I have been here more than 25 years. I have been driving a taxi more than 15 years. All my four kids were born here. I never feel this hopeless and insecure before.”

From the NY Times.

To say the obvious:  Our fear is much more dangerous than this Muslim taxi driver.

7 thoughts on “Anti-Muslim feeling in NYC

  1. The Wall Street Journal has an astonishingly paranoid article on the attack:

    ‘A highly plausible theory of the case is that the attacker sought to advance the narrative that America is filled with anti-Muslim bigots whose hatred is behind the opposition to the Ground Zero mosque. … If our theory is correct, the motive for this alleged anti-Muslim hate crime was bigotry against Americans.’

  2. SeanH. Whew! When I read your comment in my email, I misread you as endorsing the WSJ! That raised a huge problem: if soneone can’t just see that the WSJ story is completely bizarre, how ever can you convince them it is?

    Anyone who doesn’t follow the link might want to know that the WSJ doesn’t think that this guy could plausibly be said to be anti-muslim, since he works for an organization promoting cross-cultural/religious dialogue. So the really highly plausible hypothesis is that he is anti-American and did it to give Americans a bad name while, presumably, helping to promote the mosque near ground zero. As though the New York anti-muslim center protests hadn’t done a good job already to give us a bad name.

    I love the idea; which seems to be that it’s plausible to assume that someone attacking someone is actually promoting their interests. It’s a completely neat twist. How about organizing faculty groups to go out attack disadvantaged people instead of trying to raise money for them?

  3. No doubt it’s generally unreasonable “to assume that someone attacking someone is actually promoting their interests” – although even the WSJ writer doesn’t seem to make an assumption of it. On the other hand, as a hypothesis rather than an assumption, I don’t think that it quite qualifies as “astonishingly paranoid”, either (particularly since the WSJ writer makes clear that he’s not theorizing about an organized plot, just a loner). After all, false flag tactics have a very long history in any number of political and ideological contexts. Hopefully we’ll learn more about Enright’s motivations.

    By the way, that was an opinion piece by someone who works for WSJ, not an editorial as such, so I wouldn’t necessarily impute particular views to the publication generally.

  4. Nemo: the writer has a conclusion, which is that “a highly plausible theory” is that the attack was anti-American, not anti-Muslim. That conclusion is not just a hypothesis; rather, it ranks the probability of the hypothesis. He needs premises to support that conclusion.

    When you are discussing someone’s premises, it is common and in fact standard to refer to them as assumptions.

    Now in fact I was interpreting his premises, but I don’t think it’s a bizarre interpretation. He seems to think that the fact that attacker volunteered for a particular organization means it is very unlikely he would act against the interests of Muslims. But just attacking the guy to look anti-American would be acting against the guy’s interests. So there’s serious indication that he is taking an effort to look anti-American as promoting Muslim interests.

    And I think it is paranoid. The idea that the NY Times was trying to disguise this fact and that indeed the media are trying to spin it sounds close to crazy.

  5. Jj wrote: “The idea that the NY Times was trying to disguise this fact and that indeed the media are trying to spin it sounds close to crazy.”

    The WSJ writer said that revealing what he views as the salient fact of the attacker’s association with a pro-mosque group so late in the story “showed atrocious news judgment” – certainly debatable as a matter of opinion, but hardly verging on crazy. He also said that privileging what he perceived as “the America-hates-Muslims narrative” was suggestive to him that the paper was engaging in ideologically driven reporting – quite possibly untrue, but again, hardly the stuff of borderline insane (and also not the same thing as asserting that the Times was consciously trying to disguise a fact).

    Now, the WSJ writer’s suggestion that the drafting of the Times piece was unduly influenced by an ideological agenda may well be false, and at any rate is not at all well-substantiated here. But I think one reason I have trouble concurring that the suggestion sounds “close to crazy” is that it is so banal if true. Ideologically driven journalism? Media spin jobs? Dog bites man, as they say in the biz.

  6. Jender, I see the wisdom in policies that prohibit abusive language and I will avoid it. I do think that some suggestions *deserve* abuse, and the suggestion that this attack was motivated by pro-Muslim anti-American feeling is “highly plausible”, made by the WSJ and echoed by Nemo, is one. The competitor theories, which cite some kind of transitory or longer-lasting irrationality, are so much more plausible that we can only conclude that the explanation is ideologically motivated and paranoid.

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