Honest Ibe Hooper and his merry band of irrepressible unindicted co-conspirators is trying again to subvert the American principle of equality of rights of all people before the law, and seeking special rights and privileges for the Muslim cab drivers at Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland.
“CAIR Seeks Religious Rights for Ohio Muslim Cabbies,” a CAIR press release, March 19 (thanks to all who sent this in):
CLEVELAND, March 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cleveland) is calling for a meeting between Mayor Frank Jackson, community leaders and Muslim taxi drivers who say they are being denied reasonable religious accommodation at Hopkins International Airport.
Airport policy directives currently ban the drivers from using airport restrooms to make ritual ablutions before prayer (wudu) and from praying in the airport chapel while on the job.
A March 13, 2009, directive states in part: “Cab drivers observed ‘praying’ in the queue by the cab starter may be sent out for the day. Cab drivers observed moving another’s cab to enable ‘praying’ will be considered in violation of the ASV (Airport Security Violation) Policy and subject to the ASV reinstatement procedure and possible permanent banning from picking up fares at CLE.”
The drivers claim that if they must exit the taxi queue in order to pray they will suffer significant loss of access to fares, forcing them to choose between their faith and their livelihood.
People of faith make choices like that all the time. Devout Christians don’t generally take jobs at the local Planned Parenthood office, or orthodox Jews at the hog butcher. Nor do they take such jobs and then begin to demand that the business change how it operates in order to accommodate them. Reasonable accommodation is only reasonable if it does not inconvenience the larger work force or the customers. If the Muslim taxi drivers leave the queue to pray, they should suffer the same consequences that any other taxi drivers suffer if they leave the queue for any other reason. To establish any other policy would be to establish Islamic prayer in a special and unique privileged position.
Somali and other immigrant taxi owners and drivers also allege they have faced an uphill battle to maintain operations at the airport. They say they are being unfairly ticketed by police officers who they allege impose tickets and fines selectively.
This is a claim to that ever-coveted victim status which CAIR hopes will help propel the Muslims at this airport, and hence in the U.S. in general once the precedent is established, toward the special privileges they seek.
In 2007, the city allegedly attempted to sideline the Somali taxi companies by granting monopolies to several existing firms in a deal that effectively shut out the immigrant-owned cab companies because they did not meet new requirements stipulating that all such companies at Hopkins airport must have been operating in the city for more than seven years and must have $1 million in revenue.
The banned Somali and immigrant-owned companies filed suit, and the matter is currently pending in federal court.
“There should be a way to come up with a policy that takes into account the needs of the traveling public, the security requirements of the airport and the religious rights of the taxi drivers,” said CAIR-Ohio staff Attorney Romin Iqbal. “We ask for a meeting with Mayor Jackson to discuss this issue and to help reach a mutually-agreeable solution.”
Oh, I’ve got one, Romin! How about all the cab drivers be required to abide by the same rules and get accorded the same privileges? Or would that be…”Islamophobic”?