Thursday, January 18, 2007

Unfair To Ham Sandwiches

There is a hassle going on in Minneapolis between Muslim cab drivers and the airport authority.

International media attention has focused on Muslim cab drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport after many, based on their religious beliefs, refused to transport passengers carrying alcohol. It is forbidden in Islam to consume or transport alcohol. Unfortunately, much of the attention has been negative and based on false information, including suggestions that declining to transport alcohol is only the beginning and that Muslims are trying to impose their religious beliefs on others. That's false. Muslims respect the rights of non-Muslims to drink and carry alcohol. We simply ask that our beliefs be equally respected.

Muslim cab drivers are simply trying to earn a living without compromising their beliefs. In the most religiously plural nation on earth, one that claims to champion religious freedom, it seems like a reasonable expectation. However, the discourse has strayed far from reasonableness. Instead, a tone of intolerance of Muslims based on fear and a lack of understanding has dominated the dialogue.

This intolerance has forced the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport commission to cancel an agreement with the cab drivers and the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, which has acted as a mediator. We believe the commission is bowing to public pressure based on bigotry toward Muslims.

Under that agreement, cabs would have used a color-coding system to indicate whether they accepted alcohol; taxi starters would have directed passengers to cabs based on whether alcohol was visible in their luggage. Cab drivers agreed not to ask passengers about the contents of their luggage and to make customer service paramount.
Either Cab Drivers are common carriers or they ar not. People who didn't like the agreement could have shut the Muslims down by having every one carry a bottle in the open.

Of course if enough of that happens the Muslims pile up and it becomes hard to dispatch the cabs.

I like the American way. Don't want to make money in a pig abattoir, because according to your religion pigs will defile you? Don't apply for the job.

What will the Muslims ask for next? Banning ham sandwiches? I suppose that would be bad for lawyers. Especially when it comes to grand jury indictments.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

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