Muslim taxi drivers forced to take all passengers

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Muslim taxi drivers forced to take all passengers

Last year Islamic taxi drivers in Minneapolis began refising to take passengers with alochol or dogs. The issue reached the media when blind passangers were refused rides because of their guide dogs.

Now taxi drivers will be forced to take all passengers who want to ride.

Starting May 11, airport taxi drivers who refuse to transport riders carrying alcohol will be suspended for 30 days. And after a second offense, their license would be revoked for two years.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission voted 11-0 Monday to approve the crackdown, which some Muslim drivers say violates their religious beliefs. Commissioners called the change reasonable, practical and important for rider safety.

"We are sending a message that if you want to drive a taxi at our airport you can't refuse our customers," Steve Wareham, operations manager of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The only approved refusals would involve the driver's safety or would be prompted by riders, such as excess luggage or large families.

Jeff Hassan, a lawyer representing Muslim cabbies, said the issue might wind up going to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

According to MAC figures, there have been about one dozen alcohol-related refusals each month, out of roughly 60,000 monthly rides.

There are currently 900 licensed cab drivers at the airport. About three-quarters are Somali, and a majority of those are Muslim.

Hassan, had earlier told hearing officers about a 1990 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that allowed Amish people to forego displaying bright orange triangles on their buggies for religious reasons.

Many airport taxi drivers say the proposed penalties would force them to chose between their Islamic beliefs and their jobs. They say their religion prohibits drinking, selling and carrying alcohol, so transporting a rider with alcohol would be a sin.

By netchicken: posted on 17-4-2007

Good. I hope it gets shot down all the way.

if they want to drive taxis, a public service, they are under law to provide equally for all people. if they can't handle it, let em find work elsewhere. if they don't like driving blind people with dogs or people who have alcohol, move to another country where blind people are locked up and alcohol is illegal.
By Twilight_Rogue: posted on 18-4-2007

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