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Monday, January 08, 2007

Taxi Dispute Part of Larger Power Struggle

Captain Ed from Captains Quarters blog has posted something on the fight taking place between the Somali cab drivers and the Metropolitan Airports Commission. That raised some red flags for me since I just wrote about the dispute here so I decided to do a little googling of the subject. What I found was a Strib article by Katherine Kersten.

Let's first look at what Captain Ed wrote:
The refusal of a large number of Islamic cabbies to transport passengers with alcohol in their luggage or service dogs for the blind and handicapped, and the local fatwa on which they rely for their position, has led to a showdown with the Metropolitan Airport Commission:
At a meeting Wednesday of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), airport staff members asked the commission to give the go-ahead for public hearings on a tougher policy that would suspend the licenses of drivers who refuse service for any reason other than safety concerns.
Drivers who refuse to accept passengers transporting alcohol or service dogs would have their airport licenses suspended 30 days for the first offense and revoked two years for the second offense, according to a proposed taxi ordinance revision. ...

But Hassan Mohamud, imam at Al-Taqwa Mosque of St. Paul, and director of the Islamic Law Institute at the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, one of the largest Islamic organizations in the state, said that asking Muslims to transport alcohol "is a violation of their faith" as well as of the spirit of the First Amendment.

Mohamud, an attorney who teaches Islamic law at William Mitchell Law School in St. Paul, said, "Muslims do not consume, carry, sell or buy alcohol." Islam also considers the saliva of dogs to be unclean, he said.

Mohamud said he would ask airport officials to reconsider, adding that he hoped that a compromise could be worked out that would serve as a bridge between the American legal system and the cultural and religious values of the immigrants.
Ibrahim wants nothing of this supposed compromise:
It is not possible to massage this into further outrage, but there is plenty of need to wonder about wider meanings and consequences, not to mention why such a situation was allowed to drag on with no decisive action to date.

Even if one could dismiss such shenanigans as a humorous episode that escaped nationwide attention until recently and will soon go away, what of the next challenge?

What if Islamic drivers deny the right of transportation to women wearing short skirts, robed priests and rabbis, or homosexual couples, as indeed has happened in Minneapolis?

And what to do should conductors, pilots, and stewards on trains and planes insist they should not transport unveiled women or serve alcohol. How far off is the day when emboldened imams in neighborhoods where American Muslims are in the majority, such Dearborn, Mich., demand the broadcasting of the calls to prayer over loudspeakers at dawn and at other times.
Ibrahim has the right perspective on this issue. The Muslims who relocated to Minneapolis did not get forced into the position of driving cabs, a dangerous task at times as I can personally attest (I briefly drove a cab in Orange County, California eighteen years ago). They chose the job on their own, and by all accounts, have done rather well through their hard work. Part of the responsibility of taking those jobs is to follow the laws that apply to them, and free access to service dogs and people without prejudice are chief among those laws.

This fatwa, issued by the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim Society, exists as an attempt to foist Islam onto Americans who have not chosen it. It will not end with service dogs and alcohol; as Ibrahim notes, it has already gone beyond both. They will eventually refuse service to vast swaths of the traveling public, which will render MSP's cabstands a huge bottleneck for those who must use the airport.
Here's what Ms. Kersten wrote on the subject this past October:
At the Starbucks coffee shop in Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, a favorite Somali gathering spot, holidaymakers celebrating Eid, the end of Ramadan, filled the tables on Monday. Several taxis were parked outside.

An animated circle of Somalis gathered when the question of the airport controversy was raised.

"I was surprised and shocked when I heard it was an issue at the airport," said Faysal Omar. "Back in Somalia, there was never any problem with taking alcohol in a taxi."

Jama Dirie said, "If a driver doesn't pick up everyone, he should get his license canceled and get kicked out of the airport."

Two of the Somalis present defended the idea that Islam prohibits cabdrivers from transporting passengers with alcohol. An argument erupted. The consensus seemed to be that only a small number of Somalis object to transporting alcohol. It's a matter of personal opinion, not Islamic law, several men said.

Ahmed Samatar, a nationally recognized expert on Somali society at Macalester College, confirmed that view. "There is a general Islamic prohibition against drinking," he said, "but carrying alcohol for people in commercial enterprise has never been forbidden. There is no basis in Somali cultural practice or legal tradition for that.

"This is one of those new concoctions."It is being foisted on the Somali community by an inside or outside group," he added. "I do not know who."
So what's the fuss about? Here's Ms. Kersten reported:
How did the MAC connect with the society? "The Minnesota Department of Human Rights recommended them to us to help us figure out how to handle this problem," Hogan said.

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."
Based on this reporting, here's what we know:
  • "There was never any problem with taking alcohol in a taxi" in Somalia.
  • MAS, the U.S. branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, has issued a fatwa outlawing the carrying of alcohol in taxis.
  • MAS is "an Arab Islamic group" seeking to intimidate the Somali Muslim groups by pitting group against group and individual against individual.
In fact, we have quotes from "a nationally recognized expert on Somali society at Macalester College" and from a Somali taxi driver saying that transporting alcohol-carrying passengers has never been a big thing. In fact, Ahmed Samatar, the expert on Somali society at Macalester says "There is no basis in Somali cultural practice or legal tradition for that."

What I gather from all this is that MAS wants to create a major disruption so that John Conyers will write legislation that will give special 'protections' to Muslim taxi drivers who would bottle up traffic at airports nationwide. Let's remember that this is the airport where the imams were taken off of US Airways Flight 300 right after the midterm elections. Let's not forget that Conyers wrote a resolution condemning that incident. Let's not forget that that resolution would give Muslims special civil-rights protections. Let's also remember that this airport is either just inside Keith Ellison's district or possible a mile or two outside his district. (It's difficult to tell based on this particular map.)

It's also obvious that the Qu'ran is silent on this specific issue, though it definitely speaks to Muslims consuming alcohol.

The bottom line to this seems to be that MAS, an organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, seems to want to divide Somali taxi drivers in an attempt to expand their sphere of influence.

That hardly sounds like a matter of religious conviction. It's more like another step taken to build a worldwide caliphate.

You'll want to read all of Katherine Kersten's article. In fact, I'd strongly recommend you read everything she's written on this subject & on the Flying Imam Fiasco.

Cross-posted at LetFreedomRingBlog


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few corrections: The Metro Airport Commision states that they have received no complaints whatsoever of Muslim taxi drivers refusing service to disabled persons with service dogs, to women with short skirts, to priests, etc. The only issue is that some (not all) Muslim drivers do not want to transport passengers who have containers of alcohol.

The only way that the driver would even know if the passenger has a container of alcohol is if the passenger had removed it from his/her luggage before boarding the cab. The only logical reason the passenger would have wanted to do this is to open and drink it, which puts the driver and passenger in violation of the laws against having an open container in a motor vehicle.

For a short time, back in the day, I used to drive a cab. While there are very few laws governing taxi service, there are specifics in the contracts with the cities within which they are licensed to operate. If the city contract says they must transport passengers with open containers, then that section of the contract is void. Generally, a taxi driver, who on average makes very little money, will take any passenger anywhere. However, due to the high risk of robbery, assault and murder, cab drivers have the same right as any merchant - the right to refuse service. Here in Cleveland, taxi drivers usually refuse service to anyone who looks like a danger to the driver, including those who have open containers.

As to the six imams and the airline case, your blog "forgot" to mention that it is already federal law that airlines cannot discriminate based on religion, and that the police report found the passengers to be lying. Six agencies questioned and cleared the imams. The airlines have been successfully sued on numerous occasions for violating passengers and employees rights by discriminating, including successful lawsuits for denying service to Muslims. These imams are not asking for any "extra" or "special" or "new" rights, they are simply asking that the court enforce, once again, the existing law. See for citations on the law and previous lawsuits against the airlines for discrimination.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Jim, it's comical that you would post something like this, with the amount of outright lies you have written about me on the web.

11:16 AM  
Blogger JeanetteVictoria said...

Don't feel to bad Joe Sutter lies about himself as well.
Have you ever wondered how someone who joined the Navy in 1974 claim he was a 26 year veteran of the USN, with a military career in counterterrorism. ( , , , , )

Yet also claim to be ill, “with cancer, Stage 4 congestive heart failure, chronic hypoxemia, asthma, sleep apnea, diabetes, incomplete SCI at T-12, spinal arthritis, uncoordinated parastalsys, and a brain tumor. I am not expected to make it to the end of this year.” ( ) That was written in 1985 according to Mr. Sutter’s numbers he was still in the Navy fighting terrorists. I wonder if the Navy knew how sick he was?

Sutter has also claimed to have earned He has claimed to have earned four Purple Hearts, one Bronze Star, and one Navy Cross.

Yet there is no record of a James M Sutter ever earning a Navy Cross. Oh and he is so stupid he even displays his purple hearts wrong on his web page. No one wears four Purple Heart ribbons they use oak clusters you lying fraud. Not to mention the Luzer didn’t know that Lieutenant Commander is abbreviated as LCDR, not LDCR.

Rev. Jim Sutter
LDCR, USN (ret.)

When the man breaths it is a lie. He’s got some real whoppers about me. I think he’s a sexual pervert as well.

5:44 PM  

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