Michael Enright

August 26, 2010 by Post Team 

Michael Enright, A college student who did volunteer work in Afghanistan was charged Wednesday with using a folding tool for slashing the neck and face of a taxi driver in New York City after the driver said he is Muslim.

A criminal complaint alleges that Michael Enright spoke an Arabic greeting and told the victim, “Consider this a checkpoint, before bias brutal attack occurred Tuesday night inside the yellow cab on the East Side of Manhattan. Police said Enright was drunk at the time.

A judge ordered Enright, 21, held without bond on charges of attempted murder and assault as a hate crime and possession of weapons. The defendant in handcuffs, wearing a polo shirt and cargo shorts, do not enter a plea during the brief court appearance.

In addition to a serious neck wound, Sharif Ahmed H. suffered cuts on his forearms, face and hand while trying to defend Enright, the prosecutor said that although James Zeleta arguing against bail.

Jason Martin’s defense attorney told the judge that his client was an honor student at the School of Visual Arts who lives with his parents in the suburbs of Brewster, New York

To deny bail, given his background, “I do not think is justified,” said Martin. The lawyer declined to comment outside court.

Enright volunteered for International Intersections, a group that promotes interfaith dialogue and supported a controversial proposal mosque near ground zero.

A representative of the group, the Rev. Robert Chase, described the situation as “tragic.”

“We have been working very hard to build bridges between people of different religions and cultures,” said Chase. “This is really shocking and sad for us.”

Sharif, a 43-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant with a taxi driven by 15 years, was quoted in a press release from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, saying that the attack left him shaken.

“I feel very sad,” he said. With the stress on the mosque, he added, “All drivers should be more careful.”

Sharif accepted an invitation from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong supporter of the mosque, to visit the Town Hall on Thursday.

“This attack goes against everything that New Yorkers believe that no matter what God we pray,” the mayor said in a statement.

About 6 pm on Tuesday, praised the cabin Enright East 24th Street and Second Avenue, said Deputy Inspector Kim Royster, a spokesman for the New York Police Department.

Sharif told authorities that during the trip, Enright asked if he was Muslim. When he said yes, Enright pulled out a gun – believed to be a Leatherman tool called – and attacked the driver, said Royster.

After the assault, the driver tried to block Enright inside the cab and drive to a police station, police said. The suspect jumped out a rear window at East 40th Street and Third Avenue.

One officer noticed the commotion, Enright found collapsed on the sidewalk and arrested him.

A case for the tool is inside the cabin, but the tool itself was missing, police said.

Enright said Chase has been a volunteer for the group of about a year on a project that participating veterans.

He made a video project that was sent to Afghanistan for six weeks in the spring to document the life of an average soldier, “said Chase. It was built with a unit there.

Intersections has come out in support of the proposed mosque, but Enright said Chase was not involved in that.

Enright faces a maximum sentence of eight to 25 years in prison if convicted of the attempted murder count.


Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela contributed to this report.

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