Cab Passenger Rants About ISIS, Attacks Driver

'He came out of the house carrying a rifle in his hand'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2015 3:45 PM CST
Cab Passenger Rants About ISIS, Attacks Driver
Daffodils grow on Mount Washington overlooking the skyline of downtown Pittsburgh, at the confluence of the Monongahela River, right, Allegheny River, left, to form the Ohio River, April 26, 2015.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Around 1am on Thanksgiving day, a Pittsburgh taxi driver picked up a man outside Rivers Casino—and ended up in a hospital bed after a possible hate crime. The passenger was talkative: "He started the conversation and began to ask questions like, ‘You seem to be like a Pakistani guy. Are you from Pakistan?'" the 38-year-old driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The driver, a Muslim immigrant from Morocco, told the passenger, "I'm an American guy." The passenger started talking about ISIS, and the driver told him he opposes the group because they murder innocents. Eventually, the passenger started mocking the prophet Mohammed. Upon arrival at his destination, the passenger asked the driver to wait because his wallet was inside; five minutes later, "He came out of the house carrying a rifle in his hand," the driver says.

The driver tried to flee in his cab, but the man shot at him, and the driver was hit in the back. After driving a few more blocks, he pulled over and flagged down a passing motorist to call police. Authorities are looking for the suspect, and say they need to get more details to determine whether the shooting qualifies as a hate crime. But Muslim leaders have no doubt: "Very simply, this is a hate crime and it must be treated as such," says the executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on the Department of Justice to investigate the incident as a hate crime, and both the executive director and CAIR say they've noticed an increase in anti-Muslim crimes; CAIR in particular says the recent spike came in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. "In our religion, Islam, we forgive, even in such conditions," the driver says. "We don’t take revenge." (An anti-Islam group recently posted a list of "Muslim sympathizers.")

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