Passenger asks taxi driver if he's Pakistani before shooting him

Published: December 1, 2015
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Wasiullah Mohamed, executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, sits Friday with a taxi driver who was shot by a passenger last week. The victim, who asked not to be identified, said he was shot in the back for being Muslim. PHOTO: POST-GAZETTE

Wasiullah Mohamed, executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, sits Friday with a taxi driver who was shot by a passenger last week. The victim, who asked not to be identified, said he was shot in the back for being Muslim. PHOTO: POST-GAZETTE

A man shot a Muslim taxi driver in Pittsburgh after asking if he was Pakistani, in what local authorities are saying might be a hate crime.

The driver, a 38-year-old Moroccan immigrant who moved to the United States some five years ago, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the passenger asked him where he was from and then began to talk about the Islamic State.

“He started the conversation and began to ask questions like, ‘You seem to be like a Pakistani guy. Are you from Pakistan?’” said the driver, who spoke to the paper on the condition of anonymity owing to concerns about his safety.

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The 38-year-old recalled when they arrived at the destination, the passenger climbed off the taxi and asked the driver to wait so that he could go and fetch his wallet, only to return with a rifle in his hands.

“I didn’t hesitate. I [made] a fast decision to leave and drove my taxi away because I felt he was going to do something. There is danger. He would shoot me or something. I felt like he had the intention to kill me,” the driver added.

The shots passed through the back window of the taxi and hit the driver in his upper back. He is said to be in stable condition.

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Following the incident, the council on American-Islamic Relations asked the Department of Justice to investigate the attack and treat it as part of the recent spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.

“Because of the reported bias statements made by the alleged shooter, and because of the recent spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes nationwide in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, we urge the US Department of Justice to add its resources to the case and to help bring the perpetrator to justice,” CAIR-Pittsburgh Programme Director Alia Schindler said, according to the statement.

“Federal officials need to send a clear message that attacks on American Muslims, or on any minority group, will not be tolerated and that the perpetrators will face the full force of the law,” the statement added.

American Muslims fear a new wave of Islamophobia

Further, Ibrahim Hooper, a CAIR spokesperson, told The Washington Post that he believes even more incidents of discrimination and intimidation are going unreported.

“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,” he said. “We believe the spike after the attacks on Paris is even higher than people realise.”

This article originally appeared on The Washington Post.

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Reader Comments (57)

  • Paktivist
    Dec 1, 2015 - 12:24PM

    We’re all Brown to Westerners, they don’t care about the differences between people from Morroco till Pakistan.Recommend

  • illpopo
    Dec 1, 2015 - 12:59PM

    A global civil war between Muslims & non Muslims is likely to erupt soon if situation is not handled by world powers & religious leaders sensibly!Recommend

  • dagan
    Dec 1, 2015 - 1:43PM

    He should have said Indian or Afghani or Irani. Or the Pakistanis favorite “originally from India”. He should have been fine.Recommend

  • Khan
    Dec 1, 2015 - 1:44PM

    This nonsense is real intolerance. Even India seems safer for Muslims than the so-called paragon of the free world.Recommend

  • Sam
    Dec 1, 2015 - 2:02PM

    @Paktivist Its not about brown, white or Black. It about Islamic ideology of hate, nihilism and dominance.Recommend

  • jayant
    Dec 1, 2015 - 2:20PM

    @Paktivist: Nope Indian are treated very well in USA as American dont consider Indian as fanatics . Also many american have seen Indian integrate and keep their Hindu religion aside. Most American also know progressive America born politician as well as CEO of major American companies ! There is huge difference between Indian and Pakistani . accept it ! Recommend

  • Irfan
    Dec 1, 2015 - 2:23PM

    He ain’t a terrorist by there definition, so never expect the justiceRecommend

  • Pakistani
    Dec 1, 2015 - 2:44PM

    “Federal officials need to send a clear message that attacks on American Muslims, or on any minority group, will not be tolerated and that the perpetrators will face the full force of the law,”Recommend

  • raw is war
    Dec 1, 2015 - 3:07PM

    Looks like a cooked up story.Recommend

  • Smiling Buddha
    Dec 1, 2015 - 3:13PM

    @Khan: “Even India seems safer for Muslims than the so-called paragon of the free world”

    I would like to know are you really safe in pakistan?Recommend

  • Smiling Buddha
    Dec 1, 2015 - 3:30PM

    @Khan: “Even India seems safer for Muslims than the so-called paragon of the free world”

    I would like to know are you really safe in pakistan ?Recommend

  • Shehryar Hassan
    Dec 1, 2015 - 3:32PM

    @jayant: This is “Two Nations theory”………..u r 100% correct……so was Sir Allama IqbalRecommend

  • illpopo
    Dec 1, 2015 - 3:34PM

    @jayant:

    Correction please, Indian even Pakistani non Muslims are treated well in west! It’s not the issue of being an Indian or Pakistani. I remember SRK was investigated twice in US for hours for being Muslim. It has never been painless being Muslim and would never be, it’s just a commitment with ones inner self. Despite of all this, Islam is the only religion people are converting into massively. tcRecommend

  • vijay
    Dec 1, 2015 - 5:18PM

    @Pakistani:
    first send this message to Pakistan minoritiesRecommend

  • Afridi
    Dec 1, 2015 - 5:52PM

    Unfortunate accusation. Morocco and their people are much more tolerant and peaceful people Recommend

  • Palvasha von Hassell
    Dec 1, 2015 - 5:55PM

    Can’t believe it..assuming the poor taxi-driver is telling the truth, and there seems to be no apparent reason why this should not be the case, how come nobody’s condemning the hideous crime?!Recommend

  • Shakti
    Dec 1, 2015 - 6:03PM

    @Smiling Buddha:
    How many Indian Muslims are migrating to Pakistan? Tens of thousands of Hindus have moved from Pakistan. I wonder why.Recommend

  • Amit Lunia
    Dec 1, 2015 - 6:15PM

    This is not a Muslim Hate crime , because he didnot ask whether you are a Muslim, He was asked whether you are a PAkistaniRecommend

  • Muslim
    Dec 1, 2015 - 6:27PM

    Being a Muslim, I would like to comment here that this all is the aftermath of attack of ISIS in Paris. Let me be very very clear that ISIS has totally no concern with Islam and Islamic teachings. They are simply paid mercenaries and are playing havoc in muslim countries also. I would request al to please shun these sentiments of hatred against Muslims. They themselves are the victims of the so called ISIS. Islam teaches peace and tolerance not violence. Recommend

  • Saira Khan
    Dec 1, 2015 - 7:03PM

    This is the result of Indian lobbying against Pakistan. There is a large Indian community in Pittsburgh, and they constantly spew hate against Pakistan, making it look like the center of evil. Why on Earth would an ill-informed American ask this driver if he was Pakistani, when in fact the entire media in the West said that the Paris attackers were from Syria? Recommend

  • kdp
    Dec 1, 2015 - 7:03PM

    @illpopo:
    I think SRK was detained and questioned in relation to the financial shenanigans Indian Film personalities indulge in with promoters of their shows in the USA. Large sum of $$ that is sourced, exchanged and paid when shows involving Big Bollywood Stars are promoted and held in the USA are tainted. Once famous New Jersey builder who promoted such shows in now in jail for financial mortgage scandalsRecommend

  • Jacob
    Dec 1, 2015 - 8:04PM

    He should have suppressed his admiration for IS. Not everyone appreciates if you speak positively about Daesh……Recommend

  • Afridi
    Dec 1, 2015 - 8:15PM

    @Saira Khan
    Your comment is very a strange. I live in the USA. Every American I meet asks me why are you burning Churches and persecuting Christians and why were you hiding Osama and protecting him after collecting 60 BILLION dollars of US aid money.Recommend

  • Waqas
    Dec 1, 2015 - 8:34PM

    @Sam:
    I am sure you like donald trump. Recommend

  • Dec 1, 2015 - 9:10PM

    This is so biting, disturbing and insane. If this is what Europeans are upto, then what is the difference between them and ISIS or Taliban? Everyone going for violence and hate means a coming civil war in West. I hope the Westerners calm down and differentiate between a Muslim and a terrorist Recommend

  • Dec 1, 2015 - 9:30PM

    First of, there are lots of illiterates in U.S who can’t even spell their own name properly. Adding to that if you’re going to expose such illiterates to a spiced up news about ISIS killing people, he/she is definitely going act like that.

    Second, there are lots of illegitimate idiots roaming in most parts of USA who claim to have French or Irish linage even though there is not record of such sort in their entire miserable life. By this you can imagine how stupid these people are.

    Third, Jayant here said “Also many American have seen Indian integrate and keep their Hindu religion aside” … That is the reason why your religion is at decline. If today being accepted is what you call success then what you call yourself when you are rejected by the very same people in future ? With this attitude you will never rise and will always be shunned to be accepted.

    Lastly, all the successful Indians every Indian so proudly rants about became successful OUTSIDE INDIA not inside India. They became CEO’s not for being INDIAN but for their skills. Recommend

  • Why?
    Dec 1, 2015 - 9:30PM

    @dagan

    Did you even read the article? The man was Moroccan and even said so, then he was shot. Why do Indians have to spread lies about Pakistanis 24/7?Recommend

  • Sandra
    Dec 1, 2015 - 9:47PM

    “Might be a hate crime”
    Are you kidding me?Recommend

  • Apoorv Swarup
    Dec 1, 2015 - 10:06PM

    Pitiable crime the average american citizen is a) completely ignorant about what a Pakistani individual would even look like or behave (seriously targeting a taxi driver!) and b) has ready access to guns and more often than not causes fatalities/injury when the absence of a gun could have at worst resulted in nothing more than abuses.

    Coming to stereotypes, India and Pakistan both had the same people racially and culturally and traditions even at the time of partition. But equate the situation of what an average individual across the planet thinks of when one mentions India/Indians vs. Pakistan/Pakistanis. We might have had a similar history but Indians and Pakistanis of today are extremely different primarily due to the environment they grew/grow up in. If there is a negative stereotype for your nation then you have your former leaders who made ludicrous policies and your fellow citizens to blame.Recommend

  • Ahmad Kamal
    Dec 1, 2015 - 10:32PM

    Sad but I see good opportunity for Muslim magnitude gathering , it won’t be pleasant but it will Recommend

  • Ahmad Kamal
    Dec 1, 2015 - 10:35PM

    @Amit Lunia:
    Modi plz grow up Recommend

  • BlackHat
    Dec 1, 2015 - 10:39PM

    @Ahmed Amin Malik: Easier said than done! Though I wish it wasn’t.Recommend

  • stevenson
    Dec 1, 2015 - 10:57PM

    @dagan: You don’t know the US. There is widespread mistrust of all Muslims by a large segment of the society but the Muslims distrusted the most are Arabs, Iranians and Afghans.
    They can’t tell the difference between groups but most Pakistanis in the US go out of their way to say they are Pakistani origin and not Arab or Iranian or some other group.Recommend

  • Dec 1, 2015 - 11:09PM

    Thisincident did not occured in pakistan…..this news is about some other country….anyway, what is the mistake of Pakistan?…go kill arabs….not pakistani’s…for the sake of your jesusRecommend

  • LS
    Dec 2, 2015 - 12:27AM

    @Saira Khan:

    Wow, Indians don’t have that kind of time, if they would like to devote time they would rather do that for community service or work for their own regional groups. No one has time to devote to being Anti-Anything. I have lived there for quite some time and what you are saying is quite baseless.Recommend

  • Hameed
    Dec 2, 2015 - 1:39AM

    What can I say. Pakistanis are so popular, for all the wrong reasons.Recommend

  • stevenson
    Dec 2, 2015 - 2:28AM

    @Afridi: If you really live in the US, then you should remind people that Pakistan has suffered the most due to terrorism to the order of hundreds of billions of economic loss not to mention lives of soldiers and citizens alike. Most Americans understand that Pakistan was a front line state that helped defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and ended the Cold War. They also understand that the US abandoned Pakistan to clean up US funded Mujahideen like OBL who later went rogue and criminal. Almost everyone I know in the US watched Charlie Wilson’s War so you don’t have to be a political analyst to understand what the average American already knows. If you lived in the US, you would also know that Americans respect Pakistan as one of the few functioning Muslim democratic nations that are not in the midst of some chaotic civil war. Instead you should remind them that the US and West owes Pakistan trillions for ending the Cold War and cleaning up the mess left behind after the Soviets were ousted. Americans understand that your average Pakistani is not responsible for the acts of a few extremists any more than the average American is responsible for the acts of the demented gunman who killed so many children at the Sandy Hook Public School.Recommend

  • LS
    Dec 2, 2015 - 3:30AM

    @vijay: Well, their suggestions are only for others to implement. Don’t you know that Pakistan is a paradise on earth?Recommend

  • LS
    Dec 2, 2015 - 3:35AM

    There is a spate of articles in Pakistani media highlighting crimes done against Muslims across the world whether it relates to Pakistan or not. Though I have rarely seen any articles which highlight the wrongs done by Muslims across the world on daily basis.Recommend

  • Sami
    Dec 2, 2015 - 3:40AM

    Indian Sikh men are usually targeted in America because of their turbans and long beards. Pakistani and Arab Muslim men are not usually targeted unless they display their names. Recommend

  • Faqi
    Dec 2, 2015 - 4:13AM

    @Afridi:
    Not so the Paris attackers were all of Morrocan descent living in Belgium, but born in France to Morro can immigrants. The common thread is Islam and nothing else. Recommend

  • Faqi
    Dec 2, 2015 - 4:19AM

    @Pakistani:
    Its the law here, he would be dealt with accordingly. No one is above the law in the USA not like in Pakistan, so don’t preach to western countries they uphold the law. Recommend

  • Faqi
    Dec 2, 2015 - 4:24AM

    @illpopo:
    SRK was introgated a couple of years back, as his name was the same of another on the Terror list of Homeland Security in the USA. Americans dont know who SRK is, he may be popular in India or Pakistan but not in the USA, so he was detained and then after the Indian consulate was contacted and verified he was not the guy on the terror list, Homeland security let him go. Recommend

  • DayumSon
    Dec 2, 2015 - 6:26AM

    It’s quite amazing to see how Muslims have been putting up with all this hate against although all the atrocities that are happening has nothing to do with them! Kudos!
    But… How long will they remain patient? The situation must be resolved or a war is sure to breakout!! Recommend

  • Dec 2, 2015 - 6:49AM

    This shows what the world thinks about us. There are good people too which regard us gravely but I don’t know why the media doesn’t show us examples of those. Anyways, this is intolerance at it’s height. May Allah Bless The Driver with Good Health(Ameen)Recommend

  • Azam Khan
    Dec 2, 2015 - 7:56AM

    @jayant, you seem to be living in a world of your own.: Recommend

  • brar
    Dec 2, 2015 - 7:56AM

    @Saira Khan: Indians have many other things to do they are their to earn and live peacefully rather than lobbying against Pakistan, come out of this conspiracy theory rehotric , why do,nt you lobby against Indians , you are free to do what ever you like to improve the image of Pakistan, do some thing constructive and show it to the whole world rather than weeping all the time.Recommend

  • Ayesha
    Dec 2, 2015 - 7:59AM

    wow, a big hand of applause for all the people commenting. nobody has felt sorry for the victim, everyone is fighting, pointing fingers. we just hate each other. their is humanity left.
    please people try to accept each other. please dont fight.
    stay blessed!!!!Recommend

  • Uday
    Dec 2, 2015 - 9:30AM

    @Sami Shahid:
    The phrase “your jesus” clearly reveals your racist nature. World should have zero tolerance for such racist goons and that is exactly what is happening which is very good.Recommend

  • Aneel
    Dec 2, 2015 - 10:00AM

    Stevenson, you sir are the smartest here and I would like shake your hand if ever given the opportunity. Recommend

  • sridhar
    Dec 2, 2015 - 12:50PM

    @Saira Khan:
    Wow!
    You have given conspiracy theory a new meaning!
    So, according to you, Indian lobby in US is so strong that it has now influenced the minds of even an average american!
    I find that hilarious.Recommend

  • sridhar
    Dec 2, 2015 - 2:57PM

    @Shakti:
    More importantly, a lot of Pakistanis are leaving Pakistan for greener shores.Recommend

  • Grace
    Dec 2, 2015 - 9:58PM

    @sridhar: Imagine how bad it must be India. More immigrants leave India for the West than any other group. Why are lot of Indians leaving India for greener shores too?Recommend

  • TD
    Dec 3, 2015 - 3:06AM

    @jayant:
    Is it written on the faces of Indians that they are from India because ethnically Pakistani and Indians look the same and anyone can assume them from being Pakistan ?Recommend

  • Too proud Pakistani
    Dec 3, 2015 - 3:10AM

    @Smiling Buddha:
    100%. My being alive is the testimoney that Pakistan is safe. Recommend

  • Saqib
    Dec 3, 2015 - 5:22PM

    This is a message for those idiots who think America is more safer for them than Pakistan. I am a Software Engineer by profession with more than 8000 working hours. Agents call me everyday for immigration to US. But I will never go there because of so much hate for Muslims and specially for Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Syed Shah
    Dec 4, 2015 - 2:07AM

    @Uday:
    Look at your own backyard lynching of Mulsims because they were eating BEEF, Christian Churches burnt to pieces Rape epidemic. Still you have the guts to come here and shout at us. Don’t hindus like you have some shame.Recommend

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