Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Muslim cab driver lights get rejected.

Nation: Due to overwhelming hostility by the public to the proposal, the transport commission nixed the idea. Some people are not happy.

Muslim cabdrivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport have been refusing to take passengers who carry wine or spirits from duty-free stores or who are loaded down with bottles after visiting wine country. They've also asked dispatchers not to call them to pick up passengers heading to liquor stores and bars. The drivers, whose beliefs are not shared by all Muslims, say the airport should accommodate a deeply held religious tenet. Others say the Muslims are discriminating against people of other faiths and attempting to impose Islamic law. "These taxi cab drivers basically think they're living in they're own countries where it's OK to impose your religious beliefs upon others," says Kamal Nawash, president of the Free Muslims Coalition, which advocates separation of religion and government. For two years the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which regulates taxi service at the airport, had been in discussions with drivers about how to accommodate them. The commission said it had agreed to let cabbies use lights on top of the cabs to identify drivers who won't transport alcohol so airport employees could direct passengers with alcohol to a willing driver. The proposal created a public "backlash," says Patrick Hogan, spokesman for the commission. The commission received 400 e-mails and phone calls, almost all of them opposed to the proposal, he said. On Tuesday, the commission rejected the proposal. That means the current policy stays. The policy says drivers who will not transport alcohol must go to the back of the taxi line. That can force a cabbie to wait another three hours for a fare, says Abdisalam Hashim, a Muslim from Somalia who manages Bloomington Taxi. "When I'm American, I have freedom to practice my religion and freedom to work anyplace I want to work," Hashim says. "This is the way we address Islam. ... We have the right to say this is how we do it." More than half the airport's taxi drivers are Somali Muslims, and customers have reported being turned away by four taxis before finding a ride.
You have a right to say that is how you do it and everyone else has the right and law to say that is wrong and discrimatory due to your job occupation. Don't like it? Find another job. The interesting part is more info on the group behind this push.
One driving force behind the move to accommodate the drivers' beliefs is the Minnesota Chapter of the Muslim American Society. MAS was founded by U.S. members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which promotes the spread of Islamic influence through political parties and militant groups in the Middle East. MAS members say they do not promote violence. Hassan Mohamud, vice president of MAS of Minnesota says the Airports Commission decision will not help customers or taxi drivers. "More than half the taxi drivers are Muslim and ignoring the sensibilities of that community at the airport I think is not fair," he says.
Interesting the influence certain extremist groups are having in this country.

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