Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"need a ride?"

The upper midwest has been a haven for refugees. In the 70's it was the Hmong. In the last decade, it has been the Somali's. The Somalis have been working hard and making a place for themselves here on the prairie. They currently comprise almost 80% of the Twin Cities cabbies and the vast majority of them are Muslim.

Citing their religious beliefs, many are refusing to carry people who have alcoholic products or worse, dogs, including seeing eye dogs. The Minnesota branch of the National Islamic Council has issued a Fatwa (religious edict) that any Muslim carrying people with alcohol or dogs is committing a sin. So, technically, folks who have mouth wash, seeing eye dogs, working dogs let alone a bottle of wine are making these drivers commit a sin.

Tolerance is a two way street (pun intended). Is there no tolerance for their hosts? Must our law and custom comply with the tenents of their faith to allow them freedom of religion? What does that do to our freedoms?

The Metropolitan Airports Commission has decided to end the debate by making universal pickup a requirement for an airport taxi license. I applaud their decision

I suspect this type of thing will continue to be a thorny problem as we try to come to grips with Fascist faiths and civil liberties.


Senor Caiman said...


I don't like Muslim's anymore than the next guy, but I don't think we should force them to pick up fares in the hood.

jj mollo said...

There was supposedly a suggestion that they could have a special extra light on the top of the cab to indicate whether or not the cabbie would accept passengers with alcohol, etc. I don't think that would work because people would just plain avoid those cabbies, whether or not they were carrying alcohol. It would be a really bad thing for Muslim cabbies.

Cabbies are usually required to pick up everyone, but they don't and you can't really make them. If they don't like the look of the fare they just drive by, maybe with the off duty light. If they don't like the neighborhood they're going to, the just get lost. Oh, too bad, I just couldn't find it. By the time I got there, there was nobody waiting.

You can't really stop people from being prejudiced, but requiring equal treatment policies is a good start.

Old Man Rich said...

Big protest over here yesterday by the christian lobby trying to overturn a law that prevented them discriminating against homosexuals.

Seems all these relegions demand freedom of worship & tolerance of their beliefs, but have precious little for anyone else.

Personally, I'm all in favour of a little discrimination. If you dont want sodomites in your hotel, dont rent em a room. If you don't want dogs in your cab, don't pick em up. Eventually you get special drunk dog taxi's and gay hotels. The market rules.

Freewheel said...

This reminds me of the pro-life pharmacists who refused to fill prescriptions for the morning after pill. You're right - it's a thorny issue that'll keep coming up.

Jim said...

Faith is the point where you leave reason behind. We could treat all faiths equally by ignoring them.

Michael Manning said...

The world is nuts.

Balloon Pirate said...

I assume, then, that you also disapprove of fundamentalist pharmacists who refuse to fill some birth-control presriptions on religious grounds?


mal said...

Senor Caiman- last I checked, MSP airport was not in the "Hood"

JJ- that raises another issue with the government "marking" folks of different religions. I agree that we can not stop prejudice. We can avoid condoning it in the public arena though.

Rich- Sadly, the market does not always rule. We have had too many examples here where the market realities do not match the theory. Some times, the "invisible hand" is not only invisible, but completely non existent.

Freewheel, Jim, Michael- AMEN *G*

BP- please note my expression "Fascist Faiths". Islam is not the only faith with tolerance issues. I do recognize I suffer from hypocrisy at times. This is not one of them though

Åsa said...

Mal: you’d think if you drive a cab it means picking up paying customers – even if they are not of the same religion, “color” or of the same political view as the driver. Can’t believe we have to make laws for this! Go do something else if you don’t like taxi-customers.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

I too aplaud their decision.

Thanks for posting, Mal.