A few Muslim cabbies at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport had demanded the right to refuse passengers who carried alcohol in their baggage. The Metropolitan Airport Commission tried to mediate the dispute, but the cabbies refused to back down from their demands, forcing the MAC's hand. Today, they gave their answer:
Starting May 11, airport taxi drivers who refuse to transport riders carrying alcohol will be suspended for 30 days. And after a second offense, their license would be revoked for two years.
The Metropolitan Airports Commission voted 11-0 Monday to approve the crackdown, which some Muslim drivers say violates their religious beliefs. Commissioners called the change reasonable, practical and important for rider safety.
"We are sending a message that if you want to drive a taxi at our airport you can't refuse our customers," Steve Wareham, operations manager of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Minneapolis has given the Muslim community a rather schizophrenic posture over the last few days. While MCTC, the city's technical college, falls over itself to install foot-washing basins for Muslim prayer, the MAC has delivered the proper message of assimilation to the small percentage of Muslims intent on enforcing their religion on the Twin Cities. If the Muslims do not like alcohol or pork, they should choose careers where they do not encounter them.
The attorney representing the cabbies predicts that the case will reach the state Supreme Court. While it's dangerous to bet that the court system will act in terms of common sense, this case should reliably prove to be a no-brainer. No one oppresses people by carrying alcohol in their baggage, and the cabbies get licenses from the MAC and from the city on the basis of serving the airport's customers. The city has the duty to make sure that their licensees service the customers outside the basis of religious biases.
Most Muslims in our community believe these cases to be as ridiculous as we do. However, a small but active minority appears insistent on confrontation and intimidation, and their actions unfortunately reflect on the whole. When cities cave in to ridiculous demands like foot-washing basins and separate facilities, it emboldens that small minority and allows them to humiliate the assimilated majority. Kudos to the MAC for refusing to play the shari'a game.
See Power Line's take on this as well. Did the MAC think that they had had enough of the Traveling Imams and decided to nip this in the bud? Perhaps.