FW: 75% of Minneapolis airport taxis refuse customers with alcohol
VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu
Fri Sep 29 09:31:56 PDT 2006
The color coding sounds like a pretty good accommodation to me.
About three-quarters of the 900 taxi drivers at Minneapolis-St. Paul
International Airport are Somalis, many of them Muslim. And about three
times each day, would-be customers are refused taxi service when a
driver sees they're carrying alcohol.
"It's become a significant customer-service issue,"
said Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports
Commission, on Thursday.
Now the airports commission has a solution:
color-coding the lights on the taxi roofs to indicate whether a driver
will accept a booze-toting fare. The actual colors haven't been decided
on yet, but commission officials met Thursday with representatives of
the taxi drivers and the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American
Society to continue working on the plan.
The airports commission has struggled with the issue for several years.
Alcohol is a serious concern for devout Muslims, said Hassan Mohamud, an
imam and vice president of the society. The Qur'an, Islam's holy book,
strictly forbids buying, selling, drinking or carrying alcohol.
The observant drivers object only to transporting openly displayed
alcohol, said Ali Culed, a Somali Muslim who's been driving an airport
cab for eight years. They won't search passengers or quiz them about
what's in their bags.
"It is a religious issue," Culed said. "I cannot force anybody to change
their belief, but not in my cab. I don't want the guilt. I just want to
be an innocent person."
Hogan said taxi starters at curbside will look for duty-free bags with
bottles or other obvious signs of alcohol and steer riders to cabs whose
drivers don't object to booze....
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