It is sad to hear stories of hate throughout history, but it is a part of human nature, it has been happening for thousands of years. In the case of NYC, the city has seen a good chunk of hate, the Irish, Italians, Blacks, Catholics, Indians, Spanish, and now Muslims, are all some of the different groups persecuted. Muslims stand out in the list though, reason being, it is a religious group rather than a race, but why a religion, and why now?
Recently a film student was arrested here in NYC for stabbing a Muslim, it seems that hate is beginning to surface and bubble over. The victim of hate, 44 year old Muslim taxi driver Ahmed H. Sharif. In Ahmedâ€™s statement, he said that the perpetrator, 21 year old Michael Enright, had first made small talk with the him, after Michael inquired about his religion and Ahmed told him he was a Muslim Michael responded with a greeting in Arabic. After a silence had filed the cab Michael then said, â€œThis is the checkpointâ€ and â€œI have to bring you down.â€ Before slashing the throat, face, and arms of Ahmed.
Michael is now facing second degree attempted murder and first degree assault charges due to this hate crime; but why did he do it? After doing some searching I discovered that Michael had been working on a documentary about a marine unit in Afghanistan and that he had been embedded with them for some time. Were the actions of Michael the result of post traumatic stress? Michael also worked for a nonprofit group that worked to foster understanding among religions and cultures; this work makes me think that something must have happened to make him snap, but what?
As many of us remember, radical Muslims perpetrated an attack on our country that destroyed the twin towers and killed 3000 people; that will be imbedded into our memories until the day we die. Perhaps the attacks on September the eleventh began the process of paving a road of hate towards Muslims, I was so young when it happened that I did not know what a Muslim was to hate them, but I know how I felt after we were attacked. It has been 9 years since the attack, we have entered two wars, and tensions are high!
Making tensions even higher, the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has gotten press because he has made many unsavory comments about the United States and is now on a tour in the middle east to pay for a mosque only two blocks away from the site where 3000 people died in the name of Islam. Many people, especially New Yorkers, have the memory of 9/11 fresh in their minds, and with the building of a mosque near the site, old memories are beginning to come back to the surface.
Is it possible that the events of 9/11, the comments made by Feisal Abdul Rauf, and the building of the mosque so close to ground zero, created a build up of hate towards Muslims that led to the taxi drivers attack? Think about Michaels upbringing, he has gone the past 9 years hearing about what the radical Muslims are doing around the world and subconsciously equating it with all Muslims. Since Michael was 12, to today, the actions of radical Muslims have been at the forefront of the media, but Michael worked to foster understanding, did he have none of his own? Or perhaps after interacting with the Muslims in Afghanistan his understanding was that they are violent. If Michael grew up hearing about their violence, then spent time embedded with a group of marines in a hostile environment where he possibly witnessed it first hand may have resulted not only in hate, but in fear of what they may do if he failed to act.
We have to put Michaelâ€™s situation in perspective, Michael possibly should not face trial, instead kept in a mental health facility; following his initial hearing he was placed in Bellevue Hospital. We are always talking about understanding, it should go both ways. Michael is possibly traumatized from his life experiences, he sees the Muslims attack us on 9/11, was possibly attacked in Afghanistan, and now sees a man trying to build a mosque near the sight where a group of radical Muslims killed 3000 people. It is not just about hate, but how that hate was created. Think about the way they raise the children in the middle east to hate Jews, westerner, even other sects of their own religion. Have we done the same here without meaning to, or have some Muslims created this hate themselves? There have been many attacks throughout the world perpetrated in the name of Islam that have helped in the fostering of hate.
Regardless of the reason behind Michael’s attack on the taxi driver, it does not make it right. It is sad to see what has been created in the wake of 9/11, there is now a deep seeded hatred that many Americans possess consciously and subconscious. The hatred is causing rifts within America and if we do not start working together to fix it, we will implode.
Sources: NY Times,
United We Stand
Divided We Fall
God Bless America