If Barbados Taxi Drivers Refused To Take Passengers With Bags Of Duty-Free Booze…

Muslim Taxi Drivers At US Airport Refusing Rides To Airline Passengers With Duty-Free Liquor

BFP’s article Cricket World Cup: Special Meals, Prayer Rooms For Pakistan Muslim Team… But What About The Toilets? had a high readership and a fair number of comments. This morning I was surfing from link to link about Muslim religious customs and such – and I ended up reading about a dispute at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in the United States.

It seems that Muslims operate about 75% of the taxis at the airport – and they refuse to take arriving passengers who are carrying bags of duty-free liquor. When there were only a few Muslim cab drivers, this didn’t present a problem as there were lots of other taxis willing to take a refused passenger.

When 75% of the taxi drivers insist that passengers conform to the Muslim religious standards, I can imagine that it becomes an issue. The obvious follow-up question is whether the Muslim taxi drivers would also refuse a fare if the passenger was carrying a bag that said “pork products”. Seems likely to me.
I wonder whether airline passengers at Grantley Adams International Airport would be forced to conform to Islamic religious standards if Muslims made up 75% of the taxi drivers in Barbados?

Interesting reading…

Don’t Bring That Booze into My Taxi

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
October 10, 2006

A minor issue at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) has potentially major implications for the future of Islam in the United States.

Starting about a decade ago, some Muslim taxi drivers serving the airport declared that they would not transport passengers visibly carrying alcohol, in transparent duty-free shopping bags, for example. This stance stemmed from their understanding of the Koran’s ban on alcohol. A driver named Fuad Omar explained: “This is our religion. We could be punished in the afterlife if we agree to [transport alcohol]. This is a Koran issue. This came from heaven.” Another driver, Muhamed Mursal, echoed his words: “It is forbidden in Islam to carry alcohol.”

The issue emerged publicly in 2000. On one occasion, 16 drivers in a row refused a passenger with bottles of alcohol. This left the passenger – who had done nothing legally wrong – feeling like a criminal. For their part, the 16 cabbies lost income. As Josh L. Dickey of the Associated Press put it, when drivers at MSP refuse a fare for any reason, “they go to the back of the line. Waaaay back. Past the terminal, down a long service road, and into a sprawling parking lot jammed with cabs in Bloomington, where drivers sit idle for hours, waiting to be called again.”

… finish reading the entire article (link here)


Filed under Barbados, Religion

12 responses to “If Barbados Taxi Drivers Refused To Take Passengers With Bags Of Duty-Free Booze…

  1. I fail to understand why people can’t carry their liquor in opaque bags. Are Taxi drivers searching people’s bags for booze before letting them in their cab? And I’m curious what an Iman or Islamic scholar would think of this, it seems like a pretty extreme intrepretation of the Koran to me. If transporting people who are carrying liquor bothers them, they should seek other employment. There’s been a lot of issues like this lately, Muslim’s aren’t the only ones who want society to adjust to their religious prejudices instead of vice versa. This is like the pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control or such because of their religion, again, if your job requires you to do something that is legal but you find morally objectionable…find another job.


  2. Passin thru

    United cats, having nothing to do with alcohol is not an “extreme” interpretation of the Koran. It is just what it says.

    It is the really believing in the Koran that you view as extreme. Muslims really trying to live their faith and do what the Koran says is your view of “extreme”.

  3. Like I said, I would be curious to know what an Iman or Islamic scholar thought about this. I certainly have no problems with people following their beliefs, but I balk when they expect other people to modify their behaviour to respect said beliefs. I apologize for using the word “extreme” in my argument, I stand corrected. If these taxi drivers are self-employed, I have no problem with this, it would certainly fall within my definition of a business having the right not to do business with anyone they choose.


  4. intolerance

    in multi-cultural or mixed societies a high degree of tolerance is essential. The elitism or intolerance of other points of views as exhibited by many religions is the crux of centuries of conflict.

    Some of the latest happenings over the past twenty years seems to be led by a group of the most extreme and intolerant Islamists ever seen since the christians were fighting the”infidels” in the crusades

    bah humbug to all such religions and intolerant groups!!!

    the moderates need to become more militant with all extremes-a contradiction in terms maybe –but a necessity for survival and a better world

    the taxi drivers should find new work with maybe only muslim clients who are willing to put up with this nonsense.

  5. Jason

    to Unitedcats

    you may not have a problem with businesses choosing to not do business with people based upon their religion, but I have a big problem with that.

    You want “Muslim Customers Only” signs in taxis in Barbados? Should we as a country allow this?

  6. Economix

    We have a mainly-Islamic Taxi driver fleet
    catering to a mainly-Christian(?) passenger crowd,
    needing transP. to/from the airport.

    We The Christian Travelling Public,
    upon hailing a taxi, ask one question..
    Dude! are you a proud Muslim?

    Answer comes back Yes?
    I still lookin fuh a taxi,den..
    a non-Muslim taxi
    and shall seek and find such a taxi.

    There’s an awful lot of Chri$tian buck$ going into Muslim taxi-drivers’ pockets.
    Surely there’s some ‘leverage’ here..
    – who’s controlling what?

    All we need is the strength to uphold our principles as much as they do,or profess to do.
    Can we do it?
    or “can’t be bothered” ..in our haste?

    I see a huge demand for Christian taxi drivers, no?
    Supply vs. Demand alters values and costs.

  7. The taxi drivers are not refusing customers because of the customer’s religion, they are refusing to transport alcohol because to do so violates the taxi drivers’s religion. I already said I’m not thrilled with this, I know I’d be infuriated if I was standing in the rain with a six pack and a taxi driver refused to carry me because of the beer. But if it’s his cab, it’s his right, leastways in the USA. The next time I’m drinking a few beers with my Muslim neighbours I’ll ask them what they think about this, since clearly the prohibition against alcohol is not universally followed by all Muslims. 🙂


  8. Kathy

    I totally agree with Economix, but politically correct American law may not. I suspect that it might be illegal to refuse to get into a cab driven by a Muslim, or even to ask someone their religious affiliation before doing business with them. Anyone who wants to accomplish this legally may just want to say very respectfully “I have alcohol on me – if it is against your religion to transport me, I am willing to take the next cab in line”.

  9. Pat

    Personally, I was asked once to put the liquor in the trunk and the cab driver did not mention religion or else. I had it on the ground with the other luggage. He put in the luggage and told me to put in the booze myself. I did and did not question him. I only realize now that his religion could have been the reason. This was in Ottawa, where 90% of the taxi drivers are muslims.

  10. Jason

    There are many things that are against Muslim religious standards, and it all depends upon what sect the cab driver belongs to.

    “Sorry, your wife cannot come in my taxi because she is not wearing a veil and her dress is showing her leg and her bare arms”

  11. West Side Davie

    Good point and at what point does it stop? At what point does society say “We at the licensing office are sorry you can only take 9% of the passengers from the airport, but we can’t issue you a cab license on that basis”

  12. Economix

    There IS NO point at which it stops!
    Islam will make our “Christian” lives miserable any which way they can,
    and they have Western ‘Political Correctness’ on their side,too!

    We are actively helping them to succeed in squashing OUR way of life..
    “and it is our democratic right to help them, even unto Death”
    and they shall see to it!
    They deserve to win,
    since we are the ‘enablers’ !!
    So you can kiss your little cross goodbye right now, and roll over dead.
    Let’s get it over with!
    My wife starts wearing the bourkha, effective today. Get the picture?