October 16, 2006

Americanism wins out

Excerpts from Daniel Pipes, via FrontPage:

A week ago, it appeared likely that Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport would win special dispensation to avoid transporting alcohol-carrying passengers. The Metropolitan Airports Commission had proposed to give those Shari’a-minded drivers an off-colored light atop their cabs, allowing them to remain in queue while customers with bottles found other cabs.

A press release issued later that day, “Proposed Taxi Test Program Canceled at Minneapolis-St. Paul International; Other Options Will be Considered To Improve Taxi Service,” explained that public response to the proposed program “has been overwhelmingly against creation of a two-tiered taxi service system.”

Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan further elaborated: Since the airport began making plans for the two-light solution, “we’ve heard from Australia and England. It’s really touched a nerve among a lot of people. The backlash, frankly, has been overwhelming. People are overwhelmingly against any kind of cultural accommodation.” That backlash, Hogan said, included 400 e-mails and phone calls.

Hassan Mohamud, vice president of Minnesota MAS, naturally expressed his disappointment in the decision. “More than half the taxi drivers are Muslim and ignoring the sensibilities of that community at the airport I think is not fair.” But other Muslims publicly dismissed the drivers’ fastidiousness. Mahmoud Ayoub, an Islamic scholar at Temple University, stressed that Islam bans drinking alcohol, not carrying it. “I know many Muslims who own gas stations [where beer is sold] and sell ham sandwiches. They justify it and I think rightly so, [saying] that they have to make a living.”

The Free Muslims Coalition announced it is “disgusted” by the Muslim drivers’ behavior, on two grounds: First, “Most Muslims don’t agree that cab drivers are prohibited from transporting alcohol. Islam merely prohibits Muslims from drinking alcohol and those drivers are seeking to impose their religious values on others.” Second, “When the cab drivers chose to drive a cab they entered into an agreement to perform a public service that is essential to the economy of any city. They have no right to refuse a fare because the passenger is holding a bottle of wine or other spirits.” Kamal Nawash, president of the Free Muslims Coalition, added: “These taxi cab drivers basically think they’re living in their own countries where it’s OK to impose your religious beliefs upon others.”

Exactly. Islamists need to understand that the Constitution rules in the United States, not Shari’a, and Americans will vigorously ensure that it continues to do so.