Tuesday, September 19, 2006


If you support "conscience clauses" that allow a pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription for birth-control pills, I'm not sure you have a right to complain about this:

Minneapolis-St. Paul is concerned that its taxi service is deteriorating. Citing their religious beliefs, some Muslim taxi drivers from Somalia are refusing to transport customers carrying or suspected of carrying alcohol. It started with one driver a few years ago, but the average number of fare refusals has grown to about three a day.

... the airport is now forcing drivers who refuse a fare to go to the end of the line for waiting taxis. It is not a popular decision among drivers, Hogan says.

The airport is expected to propose today that drivers who wish to avoid alcohol-toting passengers change the light on their car roofs, possibly to a different color.... Drivers refusing a fare won't have to go to the end of the line....

As for me, I have a problem with both acts of refusal.

Here in New York, a big part of a cabdriver's life has always involved getting drunks home safely in the wee hours of the morning, and a lot of the cabs sport "READ QUR'AN" bumperstickers (or used to, pre-9/11) -- yet I've never heard of a rebellion like this here. But I imagine the Minnesota cabbies feel there's a world war brewing (and being brewed by forces hostile to Muslims), so they need to declare which side they're on. So maybe this will happen here, too. I hope not.


UPDATE: Last paragraph edited somewhat for clarity.

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