For the second time in as many months, a Muslim civil rights group in the U.S. is pursuing criminal charges on behalf of a taxicab driver who was subjected to an anti-Islamic rant caught on tape.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
In the most recent case, an Ashburn, Virginia, woman unleashed a string of expletives and called the police emergency dispatcher to report that she was afraid for her life because she said her cabbie, Abdikar Aden of Alexandria, Virginia, was "very Muslim.''
Aden says the woman also poked him repeatedly in the back of his shoulder, though that part of the confrontation was not captured in a recording provided to The Associated Press.
The Council on American Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group which is representing Aden, wrote Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond Morrogh on Tuesday asking his office to prosecute the case.
''(T)he assault is made even more deplorable because it was based on Mr. Aden's faith alone,'' wrote CAIR attorney Gadeir Abbas, saying Morrogh's office "can send the message that bigoted acts of violence have no place in Fairfax County.''
Abbas believes the case should be prosecuted as a hate crime.
The woman, identified in a police report as Jennifer Crabbe, did not return multiple phone calls this week, and no one answered when a reporter knocked on her door Monday. In a police report, Crabbe and her companion deny that she ever struck Aden. The police report states that Aden was paid his $50 fare after he pulled over, and another cab was called to take Crabbe and her companion the rest of the way.
Morrogh did not immediately respond to a phone message left Tuesday afternoon.
Last month, CAIR intervened on behalf of another Muslim cabbie who also recorded an obscenity-laced tirade prompted by his passenger's suspicion about Islam. In that case, the passenger allegedly broke the driver's jaw and has been charged with assault, with a trial scheduled for August.
Aden acknowledged that he did not suffer any real physical harm from the confrontation in his cab, but said the woman's actions should not be allowed to stand unopposed.
"If anybody hit you, you have the right to defend yourself. Some people might use their hands. Some people might use the book. I'm going to go by the book,'' said Aden, a Somali native who came to the United States in 1995 and has been a naturalized citizen for more than a decade. "I'm the victim, and I need help from the people, and I need help from the government to get justice.''
During the ride, Aden said, the woman assumed that he was a Muslim and said that all Muslims come to the U.S. and serve as taxi drivers for a year to save money so they can blow themselves up.
Aden said that when Crabbe started poking him in the shoulder and threatened to have him deported, he pulled over to the side of the road and called police. Crabbe then decided to call police herself, and that is when Aden recorded Crabbe's diatribe. Crabbe says the word ``Muslim'' 10 times on the four-minute recording, telling a dispatcher, "Oh, he is Muslim, so I'm a little afraid,'' then describing him as "very Muslim'' and later saying, "I have some Muslim guy, which I am very scared, who is our taxi driver, who's pulled over, and I'm afraid.'' Interspersed are multiple obscenities directed at Aden, including more than a dozen uses of an expletive, according to the recording.
The recording concludes as police are about to arrive, with Crabbe continuing to use expletives while berating the driver.
Aden was shaken by the confrontation. He stopped working nights, fearful that a hateful confrontation could turn violent.