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Muslim Group Wants Attack On Cab Driver Treated As Hate Crime

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Martin Di Caro

A man from Virginia faces an assault charge after a Muslim cab driver says his jaw was broken in an attack, and now a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group is asking Fairfax County to prosecute the case as a hate crime.

The cabbie, Mohamed Salim, is a naturalized citizen and Iraq war veteran from Great Falls. He says he recorded an obscenity-laced video prior to the alleged assault in which his passenger Ed Dahlberg of Clifton, denounces Muslims.

Salim's attorney, Gadier Abbas of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, says that during Friday's ride, the passenger asked Salim about his religion.

"Mohamed is a military veteran who served in Iraq and was assigned to a military intelligence unit, and his role was to explain Muslim culture," Abbas says. "And so he saw this as an opportunity to provide some insight."

In the video, a man CAIR indentifies as Dahlberg uses expletives, saying most Muslims are "terrorists" and threatens to slice the driver's throat if he doesn't denounce the 9/11 attacks. "Mohammad had the foresight to ask why it was the passenger punched him and the passenger's reply was quote because you're a piece of [expletive] Muslim."

Abbas says his client has a fractured jaw and concussion-like symptoms. Dahlberg denies hitting Salim and apologized for his remarks through his attorney, according to the Washington Post.

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