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Muslim Taxi-Drivers Say No to Alcohol

According to this article in the Jerusalem Post, Muslim cab-drivers who work the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are about to receive some harsh penalties for refusing to serve passengers carrying alcohol. The panel of the Metropolitan Airports Commission voted to … Read More

By / April 16, 2007

According to this article in the Jerusalem Post, Muslim cab-drivers who work the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are about to receive some harsh penalties for refusing to serve passengers carrying alcohol.

The panel of the Metropolitan Airports Commission voted to suspend a driver's airport taxi license for 30 days for the first offense and revoke it for two years for a second offense. . . . The issue went before went before the panel after a months-long dispute in which passengers said they were being denied taxi service by some Muslim drivers if they were transporting alcohol. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport officials say more than 70 percent of the cab drivers at the airport are Muslim. . . .The drivers, however, have argued that Islam forbids the carrying of alcohol.

In the months before the decision to consider stiffer penalties, the commission proposed a compromise that would have let Muslim drivers display a different-colored light on their cab if they did not want to pick up passengers carrying alcohol.

Now, how do they know if the passenger is carrying alcohol? If I were carrying alcohol, I would pack it away in my bag rather than be seen schlepping it around like a person with a problem. This is where a good old Talmudic discussion would come in handy (what would Rashi say?), to answer questions like, What if the person who wishes to be carried in my taxi does not disclose that he is carrying liquor? Or, What if that same person does not carry a bottle of liquor, but has consumed alcohol within one hour of his request for my taxi-ing services — does that count as carrying alcohol? And, what if the person who wishes to ride in my taxi is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, but I notice a bottle of Jim Beam peeking out of her carry-on bag?

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