From the Free Muslims Coalition, Oct. 12:
Free Muslims Condemn Muslim Cab Drivers who Refuse to Pick Up Alcohol Carrying Passengers
The Free Muslims Coalition, a national Muslims organization, condemns Muslim cab drivers who refuse to pick up passengers who carry alcoholic beverages.
Recently a dispute arose over a large number of Somali taxi cabdrivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport who are refusing to take passengers who carry wine or alcoholic beverages. These drivers are claiming that Islam prohibits them from driving passengers with alcohol. The cab drivers 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 most 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 on non-Muslims.
For two years the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which regulates taxi service at the airport, had been in discussions with cab 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.
However, the proposal created a public backlash by non-Muslims and Muslims who don’t agree with the cab drivers. Consequently, the commission rejected the proposal. That means those drivers who will not transport alcohol must go to the back of the taxi line which can force a cabbie to wait another three hours for a fare.
Most Muslims don’t agree that cab drivers are prohibited from transporting alcohol. Islam merely prohibits Muslims from drinking alcohol and those drivers are seeking to impose their religious values on others. The Free Muslims Coalition is disgusted by their behavior.
When the cab drivers chose to drive a cab they interred into an agreement to perform a public service that is essential to the economy of any city. They have no right to refuse a fare because the passenger is holding a bottle of wine or other spirits.
The Free Muslims Coalition believes that the cab drivers should be banned all together from picking up passengers at the airport and we would even support the cancellation of their taxi permits.
These Somali drivers are choosing to impose a minority view in Islam on the general population and this is simply unacceptable.
See our last post on the struggle within Islam.