Cabbie stabbing suspect indicted on hate-crime charges

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(AP) - An arts student accused of slashing a Muslim taxi driver's neck has been indicted on hate-crime charges, prosecutors said Monday as the student's lawyer lashed out at media interest in a case that comes amid debate over attitudes about Muslims and a plan to build a mosque near the World Trade Center site.

Michael Enright, the 21-year-old accused of telling the driver to "consider this a checkpoint" before allegedly stabbing him last week, waived his right to be in court as his indictment was announced Monday.

He was being held without bail in a psychiatric ward until an arraignment next month on charges of attempted murder and assault, both as hate crimes.

Authorities said Enright, who traveled to Afghanistan lastspring with a group to promote interfaith understanding, uttered an Arabic greeting before making his "checkpoint" remark and attacking driver Ahmed H. Sharif with a folding knife Aug. 24. Police have said Enright was drunk.

Sharif, who is from Bangladesh, was wounded in the face and neck but survived. He has said he has no doubt the attack was fueled by anti-Muslim bias.

The allegations have mystified some who know Enright, a senior at the School of Visual Arts who lives with his parents in suburban Brewster, New York. He had volunteered with an interfaith group that helped pay to send him to Afghanistan as part of a video project for his school. As part of the work, Enright spent time embedded with U.S. troops.

When arrested, Enright was carrying two notebooks that described his experiences in Afghanistan, along with an empty bottle of scotch, police have said.

If convicted, Enright could face up to 25 years in prison.

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