Friday, September 12, 2008
Muslim Cabbies Lose In First Round
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) — Muslim cab drivers whose religious beliefs go against driving passengers who carry alcohol have lost another round in court.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday against the cab drivers' attempt to block penalties for refusing service.
An ordinance adopted by the Metropolitan Airports Commission last year revokes a cab driver's license for 30 days for refusing a fare at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. A second refusal brings a two-year revocation.
A large share of the cabbies who serve the airport are Somali Muslims, and many of them believe that Islamic law prohibits them from giving rides to people carrying alcohol. Since the commission began keeping track in 2002, there have been over 5,200 recorded instances of cabbies refusing service to passengers at the airport, including a "significant percentage" of passengers carrying alcohol, which is sometimes visible through bags or in wine boxes, the appeals court noted.
The issue had simmered for several years before the commission decided the penalties were needed to ensure that customers would get reliable taxi service at the airport, and that compromises proposed by the drivers were impractical.
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