Getty Images

Muslim Cab Driver Shot By A Passenger Says The Attack Was A Hate Crime


On Thanksgiving, a Muslim cab driver was shot by a male passenger in Hazelwood, a neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the victim and leaders from The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh are describing the incident as a hate crime.

The driver was a 38-year-old immigrant from Morocco who did not provide his name over fear for his safety.

At approximately 1 am on Thursday, the driver reportedly picked up the passenger and proceeded to drive him to his destination. On the way, the passenger allegedly began questioning the driver about his origins and asked him if he was from Pakistan.

The driver said he told the man,

The passenger apparently took a more aggressive tone after this and mentioned ISIS.

The driver said,

When the taxi arrived at a house, the man allegedly told the driver he left his wallet inside and needed to retrieve it.

But when the man came outside, he wielded a rifle. The driver said he immediately began driving away as the man opened fire, apparently firing several shots.

As the driver fled, one of the bullets struck him in the back. Eventually, he pulled over and called for help. He remains in the hospital but is reportedly in stable condition.

The driver said he does not seek revenge against the shooter as his faith does not condone it. He's reportedly three months away from becoming a US citizen and expressed gratitude toward America. He said,

Wasi Mohamed, executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, spoke to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the troubling incident. He said,

The investigation surrounding the shooting is still ongoing. Greg Heeb, a spokesman for the FBI in Pittsburgh, said the bureau is looking into the incident, adding,

The shooting was not officially designated as a hate crime yet, but it occurred at a time when the country is palpably divided over a number of issues.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, tensions have been particularly high over the subject of Syrian refugees.

A majority of Americans expressed opposition to President Obama's plan to accept 10,000 refugees from Syria over the course of the next year.

This is due to fear over the prospect of ISIS taking advantage of the situation and sneaking in among refugees.

Experts contend this scenario and the threat it poses are exaggerated. Correspondingly, some argued much of the animosity toward refugees is a product of Islamophobia.

It's notable around 30 percent of Americans view Islam as an inherently-violent faith, and hate crimes against Muslims continue to be five times more common today than prior to 9/11.

Citations: Muslim taxi driver shot on Thanksgiving in Hazelwood calls attack a hate crime (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)