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Old 01-03-2007, 08:04 PM   #1
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Muslim Cab Drivers

Curious to hear people's thoughts on this subject...

http://www.startribune.com/535/story/913549.html

Airport wants to crack down on taxi drivers
By John Reinan, Star Tribune

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport wants to crack down on Muslim taxi drivers who refuse to carry alcohol or service dogs in their cabs.
At a meeting Wednesday of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, airport staff asked the commission to give the go-ahead for public hearings on a tougher policy that would suspend the licenses of drivers who refuse service for any reason other than safety concerns.

Drivers who refuse to accept passengers transporting alcohol or service dogs would have their airport licenses suspended 30 days for the first offense and two years for the second offense, according to a revised taxi ordinance proposed by the commission's staff.

"Our expectation is that if you're going to be driving a taxi at the airport, you need to provide service to anybody who wants it," commission spokesman Patrick Hogan said. The full commission is expected to vote on the proposal for public hearings at its next meeting, scheduled for Jan. 16.

About 100 people are refused cab service each month at the airport. Roughly three-quarters of the 900 taxi drivers at the airport are Somalis, many of them Muslim. In recent months, the problem of service refusals for religious reasons has grown, airport officials have said, calling it "a significant customer-service issue."

Last year, the airport proposed a system of color-coded lights on taxis, indicating which drivers would accept passengers carrying alcohol. That proposal was dropped.

Hogan said the goal is to have a new policy in place by May 11, when all airport taxi licenses come up for annual renewal.

"We want the drivers to know about the policy in advance, so that if they don't think they can work under these conditions, they have the option of not renewing their license," Hogan said.
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:11 PM   #2
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I think they should be allowed to stand by their convictions if they only refuse to carry passengers with alcohol that no Muslims made money from. That would be anywhere through the refining, bottling, transportation, cashier ringing it through, store manager, owner etc. etc.

Seriously though, that's ridiculous. They are contracted to provide a service. Provide it. Other than real safety concerns obviously.
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:15 PM   #3
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They are supposed to provide service to everyone. No one should be refused service at an airport. If they don't want to carry someone because they are carrying alcohol or have a service dog, they're in the wrong line of work. There are other occupations that do not force them to compromise their values.
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:38 PM   #4
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The airport has the right to attach some basic service expectations as to who they will and won't grant airport licenses to.

We had dinner with some Muslim friends of ours last month and this topic actually came up, not sure where they'd heard about it, but it was certainly news to us. They were both perplexed as to why whichever Muslim organization it was these taxi drivers belonged to (can't recall the name) would see transporting passengers who happened to be carrying alcohol, or a dog, as a problem to begin with. There are of course proscriptions against Muslims drinking or selling alcohol, and (I *think* this was how it worked) on not washing one's hands after coming in contact with a dog's mouth, but in their opinion, nothing that could be said to justify imposing these kinds of restrictions on taxicab passengers, especially non-Muslim ones. They were speculating that it might have something to do with Somalian Muslim traditions specifically (our friends are Indian) but weren't really sure.
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Old 01-03-2007, 09:20 PM   #5
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this is very similar to the person that works in a pharmacy and (for moral or religious reasons) does not want to fill certain prescriptions


they have a right not to fill prescriptions that violate their personal convictions and cab drivers have a right to refuse service to fares that violate their personal convictions

and they should have their sorry, worthless asses fired!!!
these people are ridiculous!!!
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:46 PM   #6
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It's real simple:

In our pluralistic republic, civil law takes precedence over the customs of any religion. Including Islam.

E Pluribus Unum
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:19 PM   #7
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This clearly answers the question in regards to service dogs.

Here's the section specifically about taxis:

Quote:
Q: I operate a private taxicab and I don't want animals in my taxi; they smell, shed hair and sometimes have "accidents." Am I violating the ADA if I refuse to pick up someone with a service animal?

A: Yes. Taxicab companies may not refuse to provide services to individuals with disabilities. Private taxicab companies are also prohibited from charging higher fares or fees for transporting individuals with disabilities and their service animals than they charge to other persons for the same or equivalent service.
There is no mention of refusal on religious grounds, however, if you know (or feel) your religion prevents you from accepting passengers with service dogs, and the law requires that you do accept passengers with service dogs, either you accept that you are going to have to go against your religion or you don't become a cabbie in the first place.

And it's not as if the requirements are anything new -- this document is dated 1996.

I suspect religion rarely prohibits as much as some adherents like to pretend it does.
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Old 01-04-2007, 02:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by indra
This .

I suspect religion rarely prohibits as much as some adherents like to pretend it does.
Couldn't agree more.
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Old 01-04-2007, 03:00 AM   #9
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They should be allowed to enforce their religious practices on passengers, they should have a right to discriminate; and cab companies have the right to fire their arses.
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:40 AM   #10
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Cabbies have been discriminating for years, I think Lenny Kravitz wrote a song about it back in the day.
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:45 AM   #11
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Maybe I feel the way I do at least partially because I'm handicapped myself, in a different way. I'm an autistic and I wouldn't want someone to deny me a taxi ride because of this. Maybe the custom is Somali and not Musliim as Yolland suggests.
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:17 AM   #12
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I asked my Muslim boyfriend about this over breakfast. He laughed and said he thought it was ridiculous. He doesn't drink alcohol, but there's nothing in the Koran about driving someone who is carrying it. His words, "some people just like to be difficult." I don't think this is a religion question so much as a cultural one.
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
I asked my Muslim boyfriend about this over breakfast. He laughed and said he thought it was ridiculous. He doesn't drink alcohol, but there's nothing in the Koran about driving someone who is carrying it. His words, "some people just like to be difficult." I don't think this is a religion question so much as a cultural one.
Yeah seriously i think a lot of Muslims would find this ridiculous. I live in a country that is 90% Muslim and this would never be an issue here! People choose not to drink alcool on religious grounds but they don`t care if others do... that being said I think West Africa is especially tolerant but still.
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:31 PM   #14
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Seems like this is more intra-Muslim-group politics than anything else. Check out last paragraph, i.e. "MAS is an Arab group; we Somalis are African, not Arabs," he said. "MAS wants to polarize the world, create two camps. I think they are trying to hijack the Somali community for their Middle East agenda."


Friday, October 27, 2006
Airport taxi flap about alcohol has deeper significance

Star Tribune

The airport taxi controversy may go deeper than the quandary over whether to accommodate Somali Muslim cabdrivers who refuse to carry passengers carrying alcohol.

Behind the scenes, a struggle for power and religious authority is apparently playing out.... When I asked Patrick Hogan, Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman, for his explanation, he forwarded a fatwa, or religious edict, that the MAC had received. The fatwa proclaims that "Islamic jurisprudence" prohibits taxi drivers from carrying passengers with alcohol, "because it involves cooperating in sin according to the Islam." The fatwa, dated June 6, 2006, was issued by the "fatwa department" of the Muslim American Society, Minnesota chapter, and signed by society officials. The society is mediating the conflict between the cab drivers and the MAC. That seems odd, since the society itself clearly has a stake in the controversy's outcome.

So the Muslim American Society issued the fatwa, and is not seeking to mediate with the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, to get them to agree to apply Arab rules on African cab drivers.

How did the MAC connect with the society? "The Minnesota Department of Human Rights recommended them to us to help us figure out how to handle this problem," Hogan said.

Omar Jamal, director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, thinks he knows why the society is promoting a "no-alcohol-carry" agenda with no basis in Somali culture. "MAS is an Arab group; we Somalis are African, not Arabs," he said. "MAS wants to polarize the world, create two camps. I think they are trying to hijack the Somali community for their Middle East agenda. They look for issues they can capitalize on, like religion, to rally the community around. The majority of Somalis oppose this, but they are vulnerable because of their social and economic situation."... Mohamud adds that Americans need to learn about Islamic law because the Muslim population here is growing. That's why the proposed two-tier system for airport cabdrivers is important, he says. It could become a national model for accommodating Islam in areas ranging from housing to contractual arrangements to the workplace.
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Old 01-04-2007, 01:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
They should be allowed to enforce their religious practices on passengers, they should have a right to discriminate; and cab companies have the right to fire their arses.
We said the same thing



Quote:
Originally posted by deep
this is very similar to the person that works in a pharmacy and (for moral or religious reasons) does not want to fill certain prescriptions


they have a right not to fill prescriptions that violate their personal convictions and cab drivers have a right to refuse service to fares that violate their personal convictions

and they should have their sorry, worthless asses fired!!!
these people are ridiculous!!!
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Old 01-04-2007, 06:43 PM   #16
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Judah, sula or oceane, just out of idle curiosity, are any of you familiar with the (apparent?) bits of Islamic law pertaining to dogs that my Muslim friends mentioned? Like I said, they considered this particular situation ridiculous, but they did seem to indicate that there was indeed some sort of reasonably well-attested hadith or such pertaining to the idea that dogs are potentially "polluting" (in a narrow legal sense) in some ways having to do with their mouth or saliva or something. I was just wondering, because it wasn't something I'd ever heard of. In Jewish law too we have a few scattered rules pertaining to pets, nothing along those lines really, but there is a Talmudic injunction against keeping "attack" animals for example, which at least in my experience has evolved over time in some more insular Orthodox communities into an effective taboo against owning dogs at all. I suspect this is really more of a historic/culturo-economic thing having more to do with the nonconducive-to-dog-ownership circumstances their ancestors lived under than anything else, but it was surprising and interesting to me when I encountered it for the first time. Of course something similar could be true of my friends' ideas too, many Hindus in my experience regard dogs as "dirty" animals for example, so I wouldn't be surprised if South Asian Muslims' ideas have been affected by that in some ways. I also had a (Christian) friend in grad school from, uhhh where was it, Ghana I think, who I remember being disgusted by the way Americans allow our dogs to climb on and lick our kids, hang around the dinner table, and so forth--she felt bad about it, but explained she just couldn't get around the reaction because no one where she grew up considered it appropriate to allow dogs in such environments.

Anyhow I'm pretty much babbling now, but I was just wondering.

Thanks for the article Judah, sounds like my friends actually had it backwards about where the impetus for this was coming from, but it's interesting that there does indeed seem to be an "intra-Muslim-group politics" element to it as you say.
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:10 PM   #17
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The poor Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport has to to struggle through quite a few Muslim issue recently (first, the Imans refused transit by USAirways after praying before their flight, and this on-going issue).

This specific taxi driver issue has been on-going for a number of years. When I still lived in the area, I decided to "test" the situation, and told my Somali driver that I was just coming back from a holiday and received a few bottles of wine as a gift. Not so much as an acknowledgement of what I said.

I wonder if this is their way to pick and choose who they (as drivers) choose who to transport.

I would love to see the whole Iman issue discussed too! I am suprised by some of the more interesting topics that get washed over here in FYM for some of the more trash-like topics.
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Old 01-05-2007, 02:56 AM   #18
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Those Imams were doing more than just praying, they were aiming to make an event that CAIR could champion.
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Old 01-05-2007, 03:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by zonelistener
The poor Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport has to to struggle through quite a few Muslim issue recently (first, the Imans refused transit by USAirways after praying before their flight, and this on-going issue).
I've always been suspicious of people who make a public spectacle out of their prayer. I don't mean I think they are necessarily planing anything nefarious, but that they are seeking the attention of not their god but of the people around them. I suspect in this case these Imans got exactly the response they were seeking.
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Old 01-05-2007, 12:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
Judah, sula or oceane, just out of idle curiosity, are any of you familiar with the (apparent?) bits of Islamic law pertaining to dogs that my Muslim friends mentioned?
Growing up in Pakistan, we owned dogs (usually German Shepherds). Nothing in Islam against it. The Koran's big on "cleanliness" and Yolland you're right that there is more emphasis around dogs (than, say cats) and we were taught to not let dogs lick us, etc. Islam says to ensure cleanliness, try not to have your pet dogs in your house. But, hell, it's not something i'd have a Jihad over.

And the alcohol part? Please. Islam forbids intoxication but isn't that anal about drinking alcohol (the religion says that drinking can be bad for your health, and when something is bad, you should avoid it altogether). As with all religions, no matter what is written, its interpretation runs the spectrum/gamut of liberal-to-fundamentalist meanings. Check out couple of the Hadiths on what Paradise will be like (mostly, wine, women and song...and rivers of milk...can't beat that afterlife party scene, man):

"Surely the pious shall be in bliss,
upon couches gazing:
You find in their faces the shining bliss
as they are offered to drink of wine sealed,
whose seal is musk and whose mixture
is Tasnim, a fountain at which to drink
those brought nigh."
( The Stinters 20: 25 )

"This is the similitude of Paradise,
which the Godfearing have been promised:
Therein are rivers of water unstaling,
rivers of milk unchanging in flavour,
and rivers of wine - a delight to the drinkers,
rivers too, of honey purified;
and therein for them is every fruit "
(Muhammad XLVII: 15)

" for them (the Muslims) is reserved a definite
provision, fruit and a great honour in the Gardens of
Bliss reclining upon couches arranged face to face,
a cup from a fountain being passed round
to them, white, a pleasure to the drinkers .....
and with them wide-eyed maidens flexing
their glances as if they were slightly
concealed pearls." ( The Rangers 40: 45 )




More here on dogs:

http://www.islamicconcern.com/dogs.asp

1. It is NOT haraam to own a dog, though it is not hygienic to keep a dog in the house.

2. It is NOT haraam to touch a dog or any other animal. If the saliva of a dog touches you or any part of your clothing, then it is required of you to wash the body part touched and the item of clothing touched by the dog’s mouth or snout.

3. It is incumbent upon all Muslims who own animals, whether for farming or work purposes or as pets, to provide adequate shelter, food, water, and, when needed, veterinary care for their animals. Arrangements must be made, if one is going to be away from home, to have one’s animals taken care of as well.

4. It is haraam to keep a dog or any other animal on a short lead for long periods without food, water, and shelter. Dogs need exercise and are social creatures who form organized “family” structures in nature. Dog owners therefore need to spend time daily with their dogs.

5. It is cruel, and therefore haraam, to keep any animal in a cage so small that it cannot behave in a natural way.

6. Fireworks cause untold suffering to most domestic animals because of their acute sense of hearing.

7. It is haraam to participate in any blood “sport,” like dog fighting and trophy hunting.

No animal has been cursed in any way. Animals are referred to in many instances in the Qu’ran. In Surah Kahf, mention is made of the companions of the Cave and their dog. (S18: 18-22)
---------------

Also, more on cats and dogs for Moslems here:

http://www.islamonline.net/english/i...rticle04.shtml

In two separate hadiths narrated by Abu Hurayrah (the cat-loving Companion), the Prophet told his Companions of the virtue of saving the life of a dog by giving it water and quenching its thirst: one referred to was a man who was blessed by Allah for giving water to a thirsty dog. The other was a prostitute, who filled her shoe with water and gave it to a dog that was lolling its tongue in thirst. For this deed she was granted the ultimate reward: eternal Paradise.
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