Hate Crimes

In New York someone attacked a cab driver, allegedly because the driver was a Muslim.  There is a question of whether this is a hate crime.

Michael Enright is accused of attacking cabbie Ahmed Sharif with a knife, supposedly upon learning that Sharif is a Muslim.  Sharif sustained serious injuries but survived the attack.  Enright is being held at Bellvue Hospital, apparently for psychiatric evaluation.

It is unclear whether Enright actually attacked Sharif because of his religion.  Enright says no; Sharif says yes.  It will be up to a jury at some point to determine what was in Enright’s mind – and I would suggest that not even Enright knows.

But my question is, what the hell difference does it make?  If Enright can prove he had nothing but respect for the Muslim people, would that make the crime any less serious?  Is anyone going to say, “Oh, you like Muslims, so it’s not so serious of an attack?”

A crime is a crime.  Violence committed upon a person doesn’t vary depending on the attacker’s feelings towards a minority.

The guy stuck a knife into the cabbie.  It doesn’t matter how he felt; he was trying to kill him.

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