Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Racist taxi rant: Driver overwhelmed by attention

The Invercargill taxi driver who was subjected to a foul-mouthed anti-Islamic rant by a drunk passenger has taken a further three days off work due to stress.

Tariq Humayun of Invercargill Taxis picked up Greg Shuttleworth early on Friday morning.

Mr Shuttleworth's abuse, in which he called Pakistani-born Mr Humayun an "Islam p***k'' and told him to "f*** off back to where you come from'' was caught on the cab's security camera and posted on the internet.

Police have been investigating the incident and Mr Shuttleworth, who has apologised for his behaviour, has been told to stay away from work while his employer carries out its own probe.

Safinah Mohammed of Invercargill Taxis today said Mr Humayun, a former Auckland driver, felt overwhelmed by attention after the incident, and had requested an extra three days off.

"He did come back for a few hours and he wasn't too happy. He looked and seemed stressed so he decided to go back home, and then applied for a further three days off yesterday when the news broke out.''

People had been extremely supportive of the taxi company, Mr Humayun and the Invercargill Muslim population following the incident, Mrs Mohammed said.

Mr Shuttleworth, who has written a letter of apology to Mr Humayun, said he wanted to apologise in person to the driver when he was ready.

He is also open to meeting with the Southland Muslim Association, which has offered to meet him after Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting which ends soon.

Mr Shuttleworth, who works for a local engineering firm as a technician, also apologised to the association.

He told APNZ today he would consider a meeting with the Southland Muslim Association when they were ready.

"We'll be in discussion about it in the near future,'' he said.

Association president Dr Wali Kamali invited Mr Shuttleworth along to the world's southern-most mosque, in an industrial unit in suburban Invercargill.

"I'm more than happy to see him,'' he said.

'We're planning to an open Islam day in the future anyway, which is something we've done before, so that might be a very good time for him to meet us.''

Mr Shuttleworth's employer. JESCO, has launched an investigation into Mr Shuttleworth's behaviour, but today declined to say how that was going.

- NZ Herald

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