According to news reports, a NYC cabdriver was attacked by a passenger who asked if he was Muslim. After confirming so, Ahmed Sharif was stabbed in the face, throat and arm. The injuries were treated at an area hospital.
The story is sad. First, because it’s not shocking. Given the anti-Muslim hoopla, it should have come as no surprise someone got hurt. Conservatives have been fearmongering for months in their campaigns against a NYC Islamic community center and a proposed mosque in TN. A FL church has taken an in-your-face approach in challenging Christians to confront Islam. They are planning a Burn Koran day event within weeks. With all this drama, go figure. the attacker’s story is unclear (he worked for a religious peace org in support of the NYC center). But still, it’s surprise someone acted out violently.
Second, it could have be prevented – or at least discouraged. Political violence is part of American history and culture. Americans are feeling tense. Former President Bush understood this after the 2001 terror attack. He discouraged stereotyping and called for calm. Politicians, like Newt Gingrich, seem happy to stoke people’s fears by spreading conspiracies about the spread of Islamic Sharia law and other irrational nonsense. This is about fear. This is about a win-at-all-costs approach.
Truth is. Americans can do better. As I mentioned in a posting yesterday, we must not repeat our bigoted past. Let’s stop the hate. Let’s speak up. Most, importantly, let’s discourage violence.