NEW YORK (CBS/WCBS) Ahmed Sharif picked up college student Michael Enright on Tuesday night - and police say it nearly cost him his life.
Police said the clean-cut 21-year-old flew into a rage after asking his driver if he was a Muslim.
CBS affiliate WCBS reports the 43-year-old cabbie displayed his stab wounds with sorrow on Wednesday night - a deep gash on his forearm, a defensive wound on his hand, and slashes to his neck and upper lip.
Police say it was the handiwork of a drunk passenger who savaged the immigrant cab driver in what appears to have been an explosion of anti-Muslim violence.
"I'm driving. He asked me where I'm from. I said Bangladesh. Second question he ask me, are you Muslim? I said yes. Then he tells me 'assalamu alaikum,'" Sharif told WCBS.
The attack happened around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday in a busy commercial area in New York City. Sharif said the young man began ridiculing the Muslim holiday of Ramadan and then started a bizarre, belligerent rant.
"This is checkpoint [expletive]," Sharif remembers Enright saying. "I have to put you down. You have to bring Abdullah to this checkpoint, I have to bring him down, too."
Sharif says Enright, an honor student from Putnam County who has spent time overseas in Afghanistan working as a reporter, lunged through the cab partition with a Leatherman knife, and the men struggled as the cab rolled for a block and a half. As the scuffle ensued, Sharif was able to keep Enright locked in the cab until he found a police officer.
Enright was arrested at the scene and charged with attempted murder as a hate crime.
Sharif, despite his injuries, continued to espouse his belief in the American dream.
"I work hard," Sharif told WCBS. "I try to support my family and I believe in this country, if you work hard and you're honest, you're good, you can have anything you want."
Enright was arraigned Wednesday afternoon and was ordered to be held without bail. A grand jury will hear the case on Monday.