An Uber driver in North Carolina said a passenger attacked and threatened to shoot him over the weekend because the man believed he was Muslim.
Samson Woldemichael, who came to the U.S. eight years ago from Ethiopia, said he picked up the passenger early Sunday morning from a Charlotte bar and set off to the man's home about 10 miles away, reported WBTV-TV.
The man became belligerent when they arrived at his home and threatened to shoot Woldemichael in the face and strangle him before hurling anti-Muslim slurs and profanity at the driver.
"He asked me if I was a Muslim, (and) I said I was not a Muslim," Woldemichael said. "I was driving and he hit me while I was driving."
Woldemichael, who said he is Christian, said he did not know why the man assumed he was Muslim or why that made him so angry.
"I told him in the first place I was not a Muslim, (but) it's not right to generalize people and do that," he said.
Woldemichael said the man refused to get out of the car after threatening to kill him, and he demanded the driver get out.
The driver said he was afraid to park, so he drove around the block until the passenger struck him hard in the forehead, nearly knocking him out, and the man continued hitting him in the head.
Woldemichael said he stopped and started honking his horn to attract attention, and he said the passenger jumped out of the car and again threatened to shoot the driver.
"He was saying he would shoot me and he was acting like he's hiding his hand in his back, so he was acting like he was armed," said Woldemichael, who drove away at that point and called 911.
Uber passengers pay up front with their credit cards, and Woldemichael is hoping police are able to track down the man who attacked him.
So far, no arrests have been made.
Woldemichael said he wished some Americans weren't so afraid of immigrants like himself.
"There are people who are not originally from here but who are really Americans in their hearts," he said. "They love the system. They love the country and they want to protect the system here, and they want to raise their kids peacefully with the existing system. They believe in America, so it's better to work with them than generalizing them and attacking them."
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