This New York Taxi Workers Alliance photo shows taxi driver Ahmed H. Sharif in a hospital in New York. A drunken passenger riding in a New York City taxi cab allegedly attacked the driver after asking him if he was Muslim, police said.
NEW YORK — A college student accused of slashing a Muslim New York City taxi driver had recently sought publicity for a documentary he filmed about soldiers in Afghanistan.
The revelation made the motivation for the brutal Tuesday night attack difficult to determine. Some blamed the vitriolic debate going on in New York City over an Islamic center proposed to be built near Ground Zero. The movie raised the specter of fame-seeking.
Michael Enright was charged Wednesday with using a folding tool to slash the neck and face of driver Ahmed H. Sharif.
A criminal complaint alleged that Enright uttered an Arabic greeting and told the victim, "Consider this a checkpoint," before the attack inside the yellow cab on Manhattan's East Side. Police say Enright was drunk at the time.
Michael Enright, right, confers with his attorney, Jason Martin, during his arraignment in a New York City courtroom on Wednesday.
judge ordered Enright, 21, held without bail on charges of attempted murder and assault as a hate crime and weapon possession. The handcuffed defendant, wearing a polo shirt and cargo shorts, did not enter a plea during the brief court appearance.
In addition to a serious neck wound, Sharif suffered cuts to forearms, face and one hand while trying to fend off Enright, prosecutor James Zeleta said while arguing against bail.
Defense attorney Jason Martin told the judge his client was an honors student at the School of Visual Arts who lives with his parents in suburban Brewster, N.Y.
More Details: msnbc