April 16, 2007

Minneapolis To Muslim Cabbies: Tough

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.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Minneapolis To Muslim Cabbies: Tough:

» Nondhimmitude in America from Bill's Bites
A pleasant contrast to yesterday's post. Pushback at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport Scott Johnson The powers-that-be at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport -- the Metropolitan Airports Commission -- have voted unanimously to require airopr... [Read More]

» Minneapolis To Muslim Cabbies: Tough from NoisyRoom.net
Courtesy of Captain’s Quarters: 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 cab... [Read More]

Comments (22)

Posted by Kazinski [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 9:29 PM

I'm not sure I like this decision. I think the cabbies should have the right to refuse customers for any reason, but they should have to go to the back of the queue for their next fare.

I also think that Pharmicists should be allowed not to stock the morning after pill if they don't want too. The situations are exactly the same, so I guess there can't be any squacking by those who support suspending the license of cabbies for not carrying alcohol, if drug stores are forced by the state in to carrying the morning after pill, or for that matter if hospitals are forced to support abortionists. I think conscience should win out in such cases.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 9:37 PM

One good ruling in a coming avalanche of cases!

Brace yourselves folks, there are going to be a hundred cases a month in every jurisdiction in the country with minor variations galore. These people have learned the lesson the liberals learned a long time ago; if you can't get your program in through the front door (i.e. legislation), you can be very sure you can get it in the back door (i.e. court rulings). We just need to hope they don't go the whole route that Roosevelt did and get to intimidation and political extortion to get the results they want.

After all, once you've corrupted the Constitution the first time, it gets easier to do it the next time.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 9:48 PM

Whose conscience Kaz?

The pharmacy is a private business and has every right to stock and sell whatever it wants and for whatever reasons it feel's apply. Likewise the hospital, if its private, need not support anything its Board of Directors considers objectionable for any reason.

The cabstand however, is public in both its ownership and its operation. The Metropolitan Airports Commission is a government body operating on a government facility to provide a public service. The cabbies apply for a government license to offer a well understood service at the permission of the government on government property.

Seem's to me that that's a pretty big difference.

Posted by Tom Holsinger [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 10:01 PM


Legally they had no choice - the MAC would be utterly vulnerable to 42 USC 1983 and in particular 42 USC 1988 had they made a different decision.

Posted by Kazinski [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 10:08 PM

Pharmicists and Pharmacies are licensed by the state. Unfortunately once you are in a proffession licensed by the state, especially one that serves the general public, the state has its hooks in you and can control significant aspects of your business. I can't see why they can't de-regulate cabs, but I'm not sure its a good idea to de-regulate pharmacists.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 10:32 PM


The reason why cabbies are regulated and licensed is because the cabbies themselves demand it. By making the operation of a taxi subject to government license, the cabbies can get the government to limit the number of licenses, and thereby the number of competing cabbies, so that everybody is guaranteed a profit of some kind.

I would assume that the pharmacy business would have an entirely different rationale for regulation since the capital requirements and the barriers to entry are so much higher than the taxi business. Probably more related to consumer protection and quality control, and therefore much easier to deregulate since the assumption of safety and quality coming from regulation is so much easier to poke holes in.

As far as the idea that licensing allows the government to poke its nose into a business's business, that door was slammed completely open when the 1964 Civil Rights Act defined any business that offered itself to the public in general as a "public accomodation". Once we passed that point, no business anywhere has a defense against government.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 10:42 PM

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.

Ed, if installing foot-washing basins is "enforcing their religion on the Twin Cities", then I guess installing bidets would mean the Twin Cities have been conquered by France. Or not. I think your rhetoric on the subject is more than a bit overblown given the actual circumstances. Quite a few public college and university campuses still have their own institutional Christian chapels, after all. Rather than having Muslims washing their feet in sinks, it's not a big deal to install a simple foot wash as a common courtesy that has nothing to do with nonsense about "assimilation".

Posted by jroosh [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 10:50 PM

I've been watching this story for a while and only recently thought to ask: How do they know you have alcohol in your baggage?

Do these particular cabbies grill each and every potential passenger as to whether they are carrying alcohol?

If they asked me I would tell them it's none of their God damn (my God, not theirs?) business what's in my bag.

As for the decision by the MAC, it's the right one. We can't impose our religion on them any more than they can impose it on us. If a job entails exposure to subtances against their religion and they are committed to their faith, then they are consequently committed to finding a different job.

Posted by Rose [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 11:39 PM

Posted by: Kazinski


The cases are NOT the same.

Cabbies generally have the right to refuse troublesome customers who are making unreasonable difficulties, are combative, etc.

Impoising their religious views on the customers isn't one of them.

Customers for pharmacies always have other pharmacies to do business with, and they aren't trapped by being off-loaded at one pharmacy by a plane with no vehicle by which to travel to another who has the products they want.

We do it all the time with other pharmacy products - i.e. vitamins, hair color, etc. Sometimes some pharmacies don't carry some products at all, sometimes they are temporarily out of them - it's a pain, but we just go looking for another store.

But someone who contracts to take the airport passengers to some other destination is quite different.

They've complained of more than alcohol, if you remember. They've complained of seeing eye dogs, and of females not dressed according to shari'a law.

THAT does get into the area they said, if you have religious aversions to COMMON elements of one trade, don't go into that trade.

This is beyond dealing with a combative customer. And you have the product the customer is looking for - a cab ride.

But a pharmacist who doesn't carry a hemorrhagic pill shouldn't have to be mandated to stock them any more than he is mandated to carry a particular brand of hair coloring or styling brush, or brand of vitamins.

Like a restaurant who elects not to serve beer shouldn't be ordered to carry beer for their customers - it's just a "dry" restaurant, and if you don't like their food enough to get over it, go to another restaurant.

Now the boy at a newstand at the airport shouldn't be mandated to give airport passengers a lift to other locations, but a cabbie should give anyone a ride.

This isn't difficult.

And look, you cannot make a doctor deliver babies, or do cosmetic surgery, or cut off moles, if they don't want to - why should you make a pharmacist participate in the killing of a baby if he doesn't want to?

Posted by Adjoran [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 11:42 PM

Of course they don't know about alcohol packed in luggage, but presumably people do buy duty-free liquor while waiting for their luggage, and carry it out. If this were not happening, it wouldn't be an issue.

While licensing for occupations like taxis does restrict entry when quotas are used (the only proper government requirements being the ability to operate the vehicle safely, including inspections at any time, and insurance coverage), for particular locations like airports it is necessary that either government or the airport authority regulate them. If every cabbie in town could go to the airport for a sure fare, likely to be an out-of-towner, they would go in droves and clog up traffic at the terminals.

The available slots should be awarded either by competitive bidding or by lottery, but the slots must be limited.

With limited service of a public accommodation, it is imperative that potential passengers have equal access to the service. It is detrimental to the economic interests of the airport and the community it serves to allow refusal of service without legitimate cause.

Posted by Rose [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 11:56 PM

Dude - the problem is that you have never had to oversee and pay out of your own pocket the expenses of "accomodating" a few of these and a few of those in the construction of a building.

It's one thing to make sure all handicapped people can access a bathroom, but making them overhaul restrooms for footwashing basins is something you haven't really thought out, very well.

On top of everything else, they will have increased insurance costs to cover the expenses of people who leave the bathroom floor wet for the next person to slip and fall on.

Personally, I like the idea of a tap on a cement slab outside, a small area off to the side, so that through traffic isn't inconvenienced by it and the people in charge of budgets and construction don't have to provide for accomodation in every single building throughout the nation because of a trainwreck of these lawsuits.

I say that as someone who saw what had to be done to some public buildings for public access that will NEVER EVER EVER be used, and for some fine buildings that were condemned for nursery school use, because wiring was 2 inches too close to a doorway.

All because these folks are trying to shove shari'a law through into the public face of America.

Funny, for several hundred years, American muslims have managed just fine without all these expensive construction accomodations - and they are NOT crippled.

In fact, they could handle their needs with a shallow pan and a cup in their back packs with their prayer mat. Or as others have suggested, with Wipies - even better!

At any rate, America will NOT be improved by allowing militant muslims to shove shari'a law into our public venues, and thus allowing them to confront and bully other less militant or fundamentalist muslims into cowing down to their militancy.

And we all KNOW that is what this is about.

They do NOT have a right to force a change in our complexion.

Unless you want a bunch of women to force the police to escort them around as they exercise their religious rights to wear bikinis in public and be defended from muslim rape for being uncovered meat, that is.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 17, 2007 12:25 AM

Rose, the floor mat does exist in Minnesota and in fact every winter they help keep people from slipping and soak up excess water even. Seen 'em in bathrooms, showers, and hallways too. They work and they're cheap and satisfy most insurers, at least the ones who aren't all worried about shari'a law and a "change in our complexion." (This is the sort of over-the-top reaction that you're encouraging here, Ed.) Remodeling a bathroom is not rocket science either, and in this case is as simple as putting in the equivalent of a handicap stall. Oh, the humanity!

Muslims may not be "crippled" by a lack of having a place to wash their feet, but since when is that a prerequisite for doing something reasonable and decent? It isn't like there's not a U.S. law on the books already that guarantees equal access to public facilities for religious and non-religious groups alike. From Religioustolerance.org:

In 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Widmar v. Vincent, 454 US 263 that public universities which allowed political student-led groups to use campus buildings for their meetings could not deny equal privileges to a Christian student group on campus. They reasoned that university students are mature individuals. The students would realize that the university is acting in a neutral manner toward religion by allowing religious groups to meet on campus. The university would not be viewed as promoting religion by their equal treatment of all student groups.

Now it could be argued that providing a place to wash feet is more than "equal treatment", and perhaps wipes would be deemed an acceptable alternative, as well as the simple fact that trying to accomodate multiple prayer sessions in a modern technical college setting isn't feasible. But at least that would have the virtue of not being as dumb an argument to make as the alledged threat of "assimilation".

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 17, 2007 12:44 AM

That small but active minority stirring things up for the MAC might just be the Muslim American Society. It was the MAS's "Fatwah Department" (no kidding) that issued a fatwah banning the transportation of passengers carrying alcohol last June which is funny since the MAS also claims to be mediating the issue with the MAC (mediating and advocating at the same time -- I guess they have to try to talk themselves into a compromise).

The MAS fatwah has influenced a handful of Muslim cabbies.

Omar Jamal, director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, thinks he knows why the society is promoting a “no-alcohol-carry” agenda with no basis in Somali culture. “MAS is an Arab group; we Somalis are African, not Arabs,” he said. “MAS wants to polarize the world, create two camps. I think they are trying to hijack the Somali community for their Middle East agenda. They look for issues they can capitalize on, like religion, to rally the community around. The majority of Somalis oppose this, but they are vulnerable because of their social and economic situation.”

As for Islam banning the transportation of alcohol ...

Muqtedar Khan, assistant professor at the Univ. Deleware: Islamic sources do forbid alcohol consumption unequivocally [Quran 2:219] and Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him), also forbid trade in alcohol [Bukhari 34:297, 8:449, 34:429]. But all these sources forbid selling and trading alcohol. Extending this ban to giving rides to tired travellers carrying alcohol for personal consumption requires an irrational and politically motivated leap that smells of mischief. Moderates and Muslims of goodwill should not stand for such thinly veiled attempts to sow discord.

Most Muslim scholars and most Muslims of Minnesota say the fatwa is without merit. And indeed many Muslim voices, present writer included, have already condemned and ridiculed this position. Even in Saudi Arabia, which is usually the champion when it comes to extremely narrow, irrational and intolerant interpretations of Islam, non-Muslims are allowed to consume alcohol, and even carry them on flights.

Posted by TomTom [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 17, 2007 1:28 AM

Captain: "Most Muslims"....(?) You have some facts and numbers to back up your claim? I for one doubt most of your Muslims are benign moderates. They might not be aggressive jihadis, but that's not moderation. Cannoli offers the same 'most' claim. To both of you: Yeah, sure.

Posted by Gary Gross [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 17, 2007 1:29 AM

I wrote a lengthy post about the MAC's decision because I wanted to include something on MAS & the Muslim Brotherhood. I'm glad I did. What I found was an article that outlines "The Project."

I strongly recommend that you read that article, then my post so you can compare the steps in the Project to what's happening in the Twin Cities.

Posted by scott [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 17, 2007 3:19 AM

Do not tell the cabbies that there is alcohol in some car motor fluids

Posted by lexhamfox [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 17, 2007 3:48 AM

The proposal by that group of cabbies is bizarre. There are many Islamic countries where alcohol is tolerated and this is not an issue. Many Pakistani restaurants in the US allow customers to bring their own beer in to the establishment. It actually works out to be cheaper to have beer there with a meal than at other, regular restaurants. I don't even ask at most places. I just walk in with a four pack and they never seem to be offended. Try it! Most of the places in the UK and US seem to tolerate it. No corckage fee either. Karzai's brother's place in San Francisco sells beer and wine. As Ed suggests, this is a small little group with too much time on their hands.

It would be interesting to find out what cleric thought this was an issue of religion and religious freedom.

Posted by Cindy [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 17, 2007 7:24 AM

Dude - one problem with your theory. According to local Minneapolis Islamic Imams footwashing is NOT NECESSARY or required for prayer. MCTC consulted with them, they said it was not necessary but they are caving to pressure from the MSA anyway. Do you think that MCTC would be this react in a similar manner if the Fellowship of Christian Athletes asked for accomodation of THEIR prayer? Would you be arguing as hard for them?

TomTom - just as there are marginal Catholics and Christians there are "marginal" Muslims. They are just not as vocal or in your face as the others.


Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 17, 2007 8:14 AM

Cindy, thanks for the info about what local Minneapolis Imams think about the necessity of footwashing. If true, it does make the request seem rather arbitrary and capricious and MCTC could cite that in defense of not accomodating the MSA. BTW, student groups the FCA can already pray if they like on the MCTC grounds and facilities, so that's not the issue here.

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 17, 2007 8:53 AM

this is to the few dhimmi posting above.

this has nothing to do with cabbies carrying drunken infidel sluts and muts nor does it have anything to do with foot basins. what is does have to do with it nuisance law suits as Lew mentioned above. as many of us have repeatedly said we will be sued for everything. in fact this site and others will ultimately be sued for allowing a comment section where "apparent anti islamic" statements are being made.

the intent of these lawsuits is not necessarily to win--that's an unintended bonus--the intent is to harass. it is no different than rolling a head down an alley. good folks withdraw to try to live their as best they can.

the key to the process is reaching a critical mass in terms of population. the european experience--our canaries--seems to be around 3-5%. once that magic number is reached everyone notices islam in their lives with the "demands" that follow. the key for CAIR, MAS and others is to keep themselves in the spotlight as victims, denied the american experience. the horrible difference between muslims and all prior immigrant groups, and this is where the battle is joined, they don't want to assimilate. they want to take over--the koran demands it. islam forbids assimilation with infidels. this message is preached every friday in radicalized mosques here and all over the world. the greatest threat we face is not the radicals its the moderates, the "silent enablers" who for any number of reasons have allowed their faith to be taken over by thugs. only they can save islam. not a good thing for non muslims to have the ultimate solution taken out of our hands.

this whole trip is going to get ugly as the radicals continue to convince the moderates that they are being persecuted as evidenced with no foot basins etc.. moderates who speak up will be terrorized into silence.

i continue to believe the big money will be in designer burkas....

Posted by krm [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 17, 2007 9:32 AM

The whole scam sounds like it is right out of the Islamicist playbook. They've reached a sufficient number (though still a minority) in the area and have started the vocal clogging of the system with petty complaints and twisting our own precesses against us. Standard operating procedure so far.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 17, 2007 10:02 AM

I wonder what would happen if enough people boycotted Muslim-driven cabs...