Va. prosecutor drops charges against alleged attacker, smears victim
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/14/13) â€“ The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said it will ask the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to pursue charges against a Virginia man for an alleged bias-motivated assault earlier this year on a Muslim taxi driver. CAIR is making that request following a decision by a Virginia prosecutor to drop charges against Ed Dahlberg, the passenger who allegedly assaulted Army reservist and Iraq veteran Mohamed A. Salim.
â€œIt is outrageous that the prosecutor, instead of charging the perpetrator of a bias-motivated assault, chose to ignore clear evidence of a hate motive and to smear the victim,â€ said CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, who is also Salimâ€™s attorney. â€œWe ask the Department of Justice to take immediate action to demonstrate that hate attacks on American Muslims will not be tolerated or ignored.â€
Abbas said the prosecutor's actions could discourage future hate crime victims from coming forward.In a cell-phone video taken by Salim, Dahlberg is heard asking the victim if he is Muslim and claiming that most Muslims are terrorists.
According to a Washington Post report on the incident:
â€œHe says the Koran directs Muslims to kill nonbelievers and then repeatedly and loudly demands that Salim denounce the Sept. 11, 2001, attackers. When Salim asks if the passenger is threatening him, the passenger uses an obscene phrase to respond in the affirmative.
â€œIf youâ€™re a Muslim, youâ€™re a jihadist,â€ the passenger says. â€œYou are just as bad as the rest of them.â€The video ends with a blur of motion and audio of Salim asking, â€œWhy are you punching me? Sir, why are you punching me?
â€The passenger replies: â€œYouâ€™re a Muslim.â€
Medical records show that Salim was treated for a fractured jaw and a head injury.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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