A Muslim civil rights group is asking the Justice Department to investigate the Thanksgiving Day shooting of a Muslim cab driver in Pittsburgh as a hate crime.
The driver, a 38-year-old Moroccan immigrant, was shot in the back by a passenger who had been asking about the driver’s ethnicity.
At first the passenger asked the driver, who has not been identified by police, if he was “a Pakistani guy,” he told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In response, the driver said, “No, I’m from Morocco. But I’m an American guy.”
The passenger continued, making statements about ISIS killing people, which the driver said he agreed that he didn’t like ISIS either. But the passenger began to mock the prophet Muhammad.
When they arrived to the destination, the passenger told the driver that he had to get his wallet from inside the house. A few minutes later, he emerged with a rifle, so the driver took off.
The passenger then fired several shots at the car, blasting out the back window and striking the driver, Pittsburgh police said in a statement.
The driver stopped a few blocks away and flagged someone down for help. He was hospitalized but listed in stable condition.
Along with asking the Justice Department, the group, Council on American-Islamic Relations, asked local authorities to look into the motivations behind the shooting.
According to a report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, hate crimes against Muslims increased from 2014 to 2015 by 14 percent.