Almost twelve years later, Muslim-Americans are still feeling the backlash from the 9/11 attacks. Some experience racial slurs yelled at them while others become victims of hate crimes and are physically attacked.
If tensions were subsiding, last month’s bombings at the Boston Marathon have only brought hostile feelings to the surface regarding Muslim-Americans. Anyone who thinks otherwise need only to look at what happened last Friday to Northern Virginia cab driver Mohamed A. Salim.
Salim told The Washington Post that he was attacked verbally and physically by a passenger who yelled anti-Muslim slurs as well as expressing anger over the Boston Marathon bombings. The passenger then accused Salim of being a terrorist and proceeded to fracture his jaw.
The passenger, Ed Dahlberg from Clifton, north Virginia, is facing an assault charge after his attack on a Muslim cab driver who feels he was a victim of a hate crime.
Salim was able to record an obscenity-laced video before he was allegedly assaulted in which Dahlberg denounces Muslims. Though Dahlberg denies physically attacking Salim, he apologized through his attorney to anyone that might have been offended by what he said.
Salim, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen and Iraq war veteran from Great Falls, said he picked up Dahlberg at the Fairfax country club at 2 a.m. on Friday. Salim decided to record the encounter after he told Dahlberg that he couldn’t drink a beer in the cab.
However, the video does not show where Dahlberg allegedly assaulted him by fracturing his jaw.
Also, Dahlberg is said to have made comments in which he compares Salim to the Boston marathon bombers. Salim said that “Because I’m a Muslim, he treated me like a piece of trash. I love this country. I didn’t deserve this.”
What is on the video has a middle-aged businessman heard asking if Salim is Islamic and then asserts that most Muslims are terrorists. He also talks about how the Koran directs Muslims that they should kill those that are nonbelievers and then loudly and repeatedly insists Salim to denounce the Sept. 11, 2001, attackers.
Salim asks if he is threatening him and the passenger replies with an obscene phrase to respond in the affirmative. The passenger says that “If you’re a Muslim, you’re a [expletive] jihadist. You are just as bad as the rest of them.”
The ending of the video shows a blur of motion as well as audio from Salim who asks “Why are you punching me? Sir, why are you punching me?”
Fairfax County officials are being asked by the Council on American-Islamic Relations to prosecute the attack as a hate crime. The charge against Dahlberg would be upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony if it is determined that Salim was attacked because of the cab driver’s religion.
Taxi Driver Claims He Was Attacked Because He Is Muslim
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said it is seeking hate crime charges for an alleged assault on a Muslim U.S. Army reservist and Iraq veteran reportedly attacked by a passenger who compared him to those who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings and threatened to kill him.
CAIR said the alleged attacker has been charged with misdemeanor assault, but the Washington-based civil rights group is asking prosecutors to instead bring felony charges based on Virginia’s hate crime law.
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In a cell-phone video taken by the driver, 39-year-old Mohamed A. Salim of Great Falls, Va., the alleged attacker is heard asking the victim if he is Muslim and claiming that most Muslims are terrorists.
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