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Muslim Cab Driver, Hit By Hate And Gunfire, Proud To Be American

A Muslim cab driver in Pittsburgh got a harsh lesson about America on Thanksgiving Day. The driver delivered his passenger to his home before the man fully unleashed his hate and aggression by shooting the driver in the back.

The cab driver was stereotyped by the passenger

The Muslim, unnamed for his safety, is an immigrant from Morocco — a hard-working guy, apparently, who was willing to be on the job in the wee hours of Thanksgiving Day. He picked up this particular passenger outside of Rivers Casino at 1 /a.m. Immediately, the man began grilling the cabbie on his background. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the driver said:

“He started the conversation and began to ask questions like, ‘You seem to be like a Pakistani guy. Are you from Pakistan?’ ”

The driver explained that he was Moroccan, but sees himself as “an American guy.” The passenger wouldn’t let up:

“He began to speak about ISIS killing people. I told him ‘Actually, I’m against ISIS. I don’t like them’.”

The fact that the driver was Moroccan and opposed to ISIS made no difference. The cabbie had a hater in his car who was determined to believe he had a reason to hate. After all, the GOP is hell-bent on keeping more refugees from entering the United States and many of them paint Muslims with a broad brush as being our enemies and a threat.

The fact that this rhetoric plays to the ignorant is evident in the fact that the driver was taking the man to his residence, that he had the man’s address. Still, the hate unfolded. Perhaps he believed that he had some magic shield that protects prejudiced white haters from the consequences of their behavior.

Nevertheless, when the taxi arrived at the passenger’s home, the man went inside to “retrieve his wallet.” He came back with a rifle in his hands.

The cab driver sped off to the sound of gunshots, one of which shattered his back window and hit him in the back. Still, he managed to drive a few blocks and summon help. He was admitted to a hospital in stable condition, with a bullet lodged between his shoulder blades.

the cab driver and the police know where the man lives

Four days later, the city was still investigating. The FBI was evaluating whether the attack was a hate crime. Four days — even though a would-be murderer was on the loose and they knew where he lived.

The driver told police that the passenger said he had been in prison. But the presumed felon had a gun — because that’s what we do in America. We put guns in the hands of every dangerous — and non-dangerous — person who wants them. It doesn’t matter, as long as the NRA is making its profits, right? It’s a wonder the NRA isn’t dragging pedestrians in from the streets to make sure they own as many guns as they can carry.

Oh, that’s right — Republican politicians are driving customers in off the streets by fanning the flames of fear:  Immigrants! Refugees! We’re letting people into the country who are going to kill us in our sleep!

A Muslim woman sitting in the hospital with the wounded driver painted the bleak picture that is her reality:

“Since the Paris attack, we’ve [Muslims in the community] been suffering. Personally, we experience a lot of humiliation, a lot of people giving you the finger on the streets and calling you names. But when it comes to the point of shooting, this is extreme. This has to stop.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is pressing the U.S. Dept. of Justice to become involved, to investigate this case as a hate crime. CAIR is uncomfortably aware of a rise in reports of “Islamophobic discrimination, intimidation, threats, and violence targeting American Muslims.” The organization is also aware of and blunt about where that rise is coming from:

“[The] anti-Muslim rhetoric and falsehoods [are] being espoused by leading Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson.”

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told the Washington Post:

“When you speak with local imams and Muslim community leaders, they tell you about other incidents that they haven’t mentioned to anyone else — Muslim women being spit on, harassment in schools and random acts of violence. We believe the spike after the attacks on Paris is even higher than people realize.”

But what does the cab driver think? The man who took the bullet in the back?

Here’s pure faith in the american dream

This is a man who thought he was living the American dream. He has been in the country for five years and will be an American citizen in three months. He wants to bring his wife to the United States and start a family. Here’s his response to the traumatic event:

“This [incident] is due to the person, not the city. Pittsburgh is my style, it is like my hometown [of Safi] in Morocco. My dream is to be an American.

“This is a unique nation. Here in America I have achieved what I could not in Morocco. Here I learned how to drive. Here I easily get a job with health benefits. All aspects of life. Cleanliness. This is my country. I am proud to say I am American, but I didn’t have the chance to say that to him [the passenger]…

“In our religion, Islam, we forgive, even in such conditions. I learned this from our prophet Muhammad. We don’t take revenge. I could forgive this, but I still want my rights.”

Now aren’t we ashamed? Even if we’re not among those espousing the rhetoric, even if we don’t support the rampant proliferation of unregulated guns — what have we done to stop the hate of the GOP and the absolute moral bankruptcy of the NRA?

Feature photo via CAIR on Facebook

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Deborah Montesano is a writer and political activist, who has just been freed from decades of wandering in the Arizona desert. She is now stunned to find herself actually living in progressive heaven — Portland, Oregon. READ MORE BY DEBORAH.