Michael Enright, the drunk filmmaker accused of stabbing a cabdriver in Manhattan after asking "Are you Muslim?", worked well with both American soldiers and Muslims while in Afghanistan. So what happened? Was it his "intense experience" in the war-torn country?
In Friday's paper, The New York Times examines the young filmmaker's "zeal for veterans." Among the noteworthy things the article touches upon, many of which have been reported before: Enright's bizarre crime, which has really brought out the best in commenters on news articles, came as a big shock to friends and colleagues, who remember him as a zealous advocate for veterans.
In fact, Mr. Enright's interest in the plight of young troops was growing into a passion, say those who know him. Within two months of contacting Mr. Anthony, Mr. Enright traveled to Hawaii to join a Marine unit deploying to Afghanistan, with the idea of filming a documentary about their experiences.
He was already volunteering with a nonprofit group whose mission included fostering understanding between religions and cultures, veterans and civilians.
So how did someone like that—apparently committed to cross-cultural understanding and tolerance—end up stabbing a Muslim cabdriver over his religion? The Times' sources hint about his trip to Afghanistan, where he continued filming the documentary he'd begun in Hawaii. According to the Reverend Robert Chase, who founded the nonprofit he volunteered with, Enright had "an intense experience" in the country, and though he was never "directly involved in combat," he was "close enough." Not that Chase was any less surprised:
What has made the accusations even more unfathomable, Mr. Chase said, was that Mr. Enright was concerned about the people of Afghanistan, especially the children, and had worked with Muslims in his group.
Friends who spoke with the New York Post, on the other hand, were less sure about what Enright had seen or done while with troops:
"They did lose a few troops over there, but he didn't say if anything impacted him," said a 22-year-old friend from Brewster, Enright's hometown in upstate Putnam County.
"He didn't say much about the experience, other than the country was chaos."
If it was something that happened in Afghanistan, it clearly made a big impact. According to the New York Daily News, cops found a diary with "anti-Muslim" sentiments:
When he was arrested Tuesday in midtown, Enright had a personal diary filled with pages of "pretty strong anti-Muslim comments," a police source said.
The source said Enright's journal equated Muslims with "killers, ungrateful for the help they were being offered, filthy murderers without a conscience."