January 13, 2007

Yanking the Leash

Muslims are miffed, Muslims make demands. So what else is new? MSNBC News report:
Booze, dogs too much for some Muslim cabbies
Drivers refuse service to passengers, Minn. airport officials put up a fight
Updated: 3:17 p.m. ET Jan. 4, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS - Some Muslim cab drivers are refusing service to a growing number of passengers with alcohol or dogs, and officials at Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport are trying to fight it.

"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," said Patrick Hogan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Airport Commission.

Each month, about 100 people are denied cab service at the airport, and refusals for religious reasons have grown in recent months, airport officials said. About three-quarters of the 900 taxi drivers at the airport are Somali, many of them Muslim.

The belief that carrying alcohol or dogs, including those that help people with disabilities, violates religious beliefs is "unfortunate," Airports Commissioner Bert McKasy said.

Officials on Wednesday asked the commission for permission to hold public hearings on a proposal that would suspend or revoke drivers' airport licenses for refusing service for reasons other than safety concerns. The commission is expected to vote Jan. 16.

A driver who refuses to transport a passenger with a service dog, in violation of the federal American with Disabilities Act, already faces a 30-day suspension of the airport license, Hogan said. A driver who refuses to transport someone carrying wine is told to go to the back of the taxicab line.

Last year, the airports commission received a fatwa, or religious edict, from the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society saying "Islamic jurisprudence" prohibits taxi drivers from carrying passengers with alcohol, "because it involves cooperating in sin according to Islam."
Yesterday it's Muslim mothers in Austria protesting their children's arithmetics because the plus sign (yes, THAT: +) because it resembles a cross, today it's booze and curs. I suppose the Muslim taxi drivers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport aren't there since yesterday. So why do they suddenly detect their religious conscience?

Why? Because they will take up any (but ANY) power struggle and no grovelling will ever be good enough. Even if we replace the cross sign with something sufficiently neutral -- say, a circle --, poison all our dogs and pour all booze down the drain, it will NEVER be enough. Ever.

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