Limo driver allegedly called 'jihadist,' assaulted, threatened with death
WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization has called on the Office of the State's Attorney for Prince George's County Maryland to bring hate crime charges against a Prince Frederick man scheduled to go to trial on Monday, October 17, for allegedly assaulting a Virginia Muslim limousine driver.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the alleged assault took place on March 11 of this year when the Muslim limo driver of Moroccan origin reported that he picked up two passengers in Washington, D.C., shortly after midnight and was asked to take them to National Harbor.
After learning that the driver's name is Mohammed, one of the passengers asked whether he was Muslim. When the driver said he is Muslim, that admission allegedly prompted both passengers to use religious and ethnic slurs and make threats to the life of the driver.
The passengers reportedly called the Muslim driver a "jihadist" and told him they were going to "f**king murder" him.
When the limo arrived at the destination, one of the passengers allegedly punched the driver in the head, knocking him to the ground and fracturing his wrist. Both passengers were subsequently arrested and charged.
One of the passengers is scheduled for trial on Monday for second degree assault, theft and disorderly conduct. (Case Number: 1E00458949, Tracking No:100001347014) It is not known why the other passenger's case has not come up for trial.
"The State of Maryland should pursue this incident for what it is -- a hate crime," said CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, who is representing the alleged victim. "There have been too many American Muslims who have borne the brunt of growing anti-Muslim sentiment in our nation. These crimes will stop only when those responsible for enforcing the law make it clear that perpetrators of hate crimes against American Muslims will be held to account."
He noted that under Article 27, 470A (Religious and Ethnic Crimes) of Maryland state law, it is illegal to harass or commit a crime against any person because of their "race, color, religious beliefs or national origin." The statute provides an extra sentencing enhancement for crimes motivated by hate.
SEE: Maryland's Response to Hate Crimes
Abbas noted another apparent bias-motivated attack that took place recently in New York.
NY: 'All you Pakistanis and Indians are going to be killed! Go home!'
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations