Mohamed Salim says man assaulted him for being Muslim
A Northern Virginia cab driver who served with the United States military in Iraq says he was attacked late last week by a man who accused him of being a terrorist simply because he is a Muslim.
According to The Washington Post, Mohamed A. Salim picked up a passenger, identified as Ed Dahlberg of Clinton, at a Northern Virginia country club last Friday. Salim says Dahlberg, who owns Manassas-based Emerald Aviation, became agitated that he couldn't bring an open beer into the cab. Once inside, Salim alleges Dahlberg threatened to kill him and compared him to the Tsarnaev brothers, who are accused of bombing the Boston Marathon two weeks ago.
When he spoke to ABC7, Salim couldn't hold back his tears.
"The reason I'm emotional. I sacrificed for this country...That's the reason…," Salim explained.
Salim, an Iraq war veteran, served as a linguist for U.S. troops, so he thought he could explain Islam and the Koran. He says that only fueled Dahlberg's tirade about the 9/11 attacks.
Frightened, Salim says he turned on his cellphone camera to record Dahlberg and claims that's when the aviation exec assaulted him.
In a video clip provided to The Post, Dahlberg can be heard telling Salim, a Great Falls resident, that since he was a Muslim, he was a "jihadist" and was "just as bad as the rest of them." The video then shows Salim being assaulted.
Salim says he now has a fractured jaw and concussion.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is now representing Salim. They say Dahlberg should be charged with a hate crime.
"We fully expect the Commonwealth Attorney of Fairfax County to pursue the bias enhancement that Virgina law provides," said CAIR Attorney Gadeir Abbas.
Dahlberg's attorney, Demetry Pikrallidas, maintains his client's innocence.
"Anyone who listens to the entire conversation and views the entire tape will hear that most of the conversation had a friendly tone... Further, Mr. Dahlberg did not assault Mr. Salim at any time, nor did he get violent in any way."
Salim claims the tape is the proof.
"I feel like I don't belong here…because he's rich man, and he's the only American, and I'm nothing."
Dahlberg has been charged with misdemeanor assault, The Post reports.
Abbas says Dahlberg wasn't arrested Saturday, because he ran from the taxi, disappearing into the woods near his home.
An arrest warrant has been issued; but at this hour, Dahlberg has not been arrested.
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