When In Rome do as Muslims Do
9/18/2006 Minneapolis-St. Paul is concerned that its taxi service is deteriorating. Citing their religious beliefs, some Muslim taxi drivers from Somalia are refusing to transport customers carrying or suspected of carrying alcohol. It started with one driver a few years ago, but the average number of fare refusals has grown to about three a day, says airport spokesman Patrick Hogan. "Travelers often feel surprised and insulted," he says. "Sometimes, several drivers in a row refuse carriage."
Taxi drivers and officials from the airport, taxi companies and the Muslim American Society are discussing how to address the issue. Partly out of concern that taxi drivers might be citing religion to avoid short-distance fares, the airport is now forcing drivers who refuse a fare to go to the end of the line for waiting taxis. It is not a popular decision among drivers, Hogan says.
The airport is expected to propose today that drivers who wish to avoid alcohol-toting passengers change the light on their car roofs, possibly to a different color. Hogan says the move will help let airport employees and customers know which taxis serve alcohol-carrying passengers. Drivers refusing a fare won't have to go to the end of the line. "Airport authorities are not in the business of interpreting sacred texts or dictating anyone's religious choices. ... Our goal is simply to ensure travelers at (the airport) are well served."
Today it is alcohol, soon it will be women who do not wear a veil, tomorrow it will be Jews. That dhimwitted line about "Airport authorities are not in the business of interpreting sacred texts" is beyond dhimented. How does it "ensure travelers at the airport are well served" when it is obvious that those travelers are not served at all. What is the poor traveler to do if the entire line of cabs is filled with Muslim? Rent a car? But shouldn't we be concerned that drunks will be driving instead of being driven?
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