So here are some twists to this morning's story about the alleged slashing of a Muslim taxi driver in Manhattan:
• Suspect Michael Enright, 21, was apparently working on a documentary about his high-school friend's enrollment in the Marines and subsequent deployment to Afghanistan. Alex Pareene over at Salon has found some footage from it. Enright was reportedly in Afghanistan for a period recently, making the film.
• The cab driver, Ahmed Sharif, has released a statement describing what happened, which seems to reference some sort of battle-territory experience. The statement, issued through the Taxi Workers Alliance, explains that Enright "started out friendly, asking Mr. Sharif about where he was from, how long he had been in America, if he was Muslim and if he was observing fast during Ramadan. He then first became silent for a few minutes and then suddenly started cursing and screaming. There, at about 6:15pm at Third Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets, he yelled, 'Assalamu Alaikum. Consider this a checkpoint,' and then slashed Mr. Sharif across the neck."
• The Daily News adds that police say Enright was "very, very intoxicated" at the time of the attack.
• According to the Facebook page that appears to be his (the above image of him in a flak jacket with a child is from said page), he works at Intersections International, which the Village Voice observes is a New York–based "global initiative dedicated to promoting justice, reconciliation and peace across lines of faith, culture, ideology, race, class, national borders and other boundaries that divide humanity." It's also a group that has already publicly voiced support for the Park51 complex downtown.
• In the TWA release, the taxi organization launched criticism over the heated debate around that very issue, calling it "bigotry." "I feel very sad. I have been here more than 25 years. I have been driving a taxi more than 15 years. All my four kids were born here. I never feel this hopeless and insecure before," Sharif, the driver himself, said. "Right now, the public sentiment is very serious (because of the Ground Zero Mosque debate.) All drivers should be more careful."
• Contrary to the original report, Sharif was only briefly able to hold Enright in the car, the Post indicates. The young man escaped, and despite his wound, Sharif gave chase, alerting a police officer. Enright was found sitting in the middle of Third Avenue blocking traffic.
• Police said the Park51 project was never mentioned during the attack.
• Here is the trailer for the movie Enright was making:
• Also, p.s., this was the National Review's first reaction to this whole story. "Expect to See This All Over MSNBC Tonight." Glad to see that when someone get stabbed in the neck for his religion, we can all act like adults.
Update: Here's His Flickr Photostream. This kid had a sizeable digital footprint!