Skip to main content

US charges man over Muslim cab driver shooting

The shooting has been described as an alleged hate crime by Muslim groups
The skyline of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the shooting took place (AFP)

US police in Pittsburgh have arrested and charged a 26-year-old man with shooting a Muslim cab driver in the back in the early hours of Thanksgiving (26 November), officials said on Wednesday.

Muslim activists allege the shooting was a hate crime, but police told AFP those charges were still under investigation.

The arrest came just hours before two gunmen stormed a California Christmas party, killing 14 people. The alleged attackers have now been named as Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27. Both have now been killed in a shootout with police. 

Since the Paris attacks on 13 November, activists have warned against an unprecedented anti-Muslim backlash in America, fueled by right-wing intolerance in the presidential campaign.

Anthony Mohamed, 26, from Hazelwood, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, in the state of Pennsylvania, has been charged with aggravated assault, criminal attempt homicide and recklessly endangering another person, police said.

The victim was identified by a local newspaper as a 38-year-old Moroccan immigrant. His name has not been released and officials say he wishes to remain anonymous due to safety concerns.

The driver told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the passenger asked whether he was from Pakistan and then talked about the Islamic State group killing people. 

"I noticed that he changed his tone and he began to satirize Mohammad, my prophet," the victim was quoted as saying by the paper.

Police said Mohamed got into the taxi outside a casino at 1:13 am (0613 GMT) on 26 November.

He allegedly asked the driver to wait so he could get money to pay the fare, but returned a few minutes later with a rifle.

As the victim drove off, he was shot in the back by a bullet that blew out the taxi's rear window, police said.

He was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.