This issue keeps cropping up around the world where some Muslim beliefs run head on into European-based and American laws. Now I’m as sensitive to inercultural concerns as just about anybody (a BA in International Relations, MA in Political Science and MSBA in Management specializing in Intercultural Relations will do that for you) but where the law says service dogs are to be allowed taxi service, well that’s the law. If you’re a taxi driver with problems with that law, then you’re in the wrong line of work!
Here are links to previous posts on this topic.
St. Paul-Minneapolis Muslim Taxi Cab Drivers Refuse Service to People with Service Dogs and Alcohol
Australian Muslim Taxis Refusing to Carry Blind People and Their Service Dogs
London Taxi Refuses To Carry Blind Woman and Service Dog Against His Beliefs
I travel a great deal and get in a lot of taxis. I take the chance to discuss this issue with the drivers, and that includes MANY Muslim drivers. And if you’ve ridden in many taxis, you probably have noticed that most cab drivers are very open about what they think on many topics. Such is the case with this topic too! In fact, some of the strongest voices I’ve heard against those cab drivers who try to avoid carrying dogs and alcohol (that’s the other side of the belief that they will be spiritually contaminated) are Muslim drivers who have been in the States for a while and have made their peace with the law. They support the law and have no problem carrying dogs.
They feel that Muslim cabbies who make this fuss are putting all Muslim drivers at risk for being seen as unfriendly and unwelcome new members of society. One Minneapolis driver I listened to at length a few weeks back is openly derisive of these newer, more fundamentalist drivers and encourages them to find other jobs. So this is not really a religious issue, as those drivers who refuse to carry dogs say it is, it is much more of a cultural issue. And even if it were religious, there are many other jobs that do not require involvement with dogs. I would encourage these drivers to find one of those and not flaunt the laws of the country.
So how should you respond when confronted with one of these drivers? I always ask before I get in the cab whether or not the driver will carry dogs? Of course, they look at me oddly since I rarely have a dog with me when this happens. If they say there is a problem, I walk away and find another cab.
Thanks to The Border Mail for this article.
Taxis refuse guide dogs
A SMALL but increasing number of taxi drivers in Australia are refusing to carry passengers using guide dogs, an industry conference has been told.
Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes, who uses a guide dog himself, said such conduct was not only against the law but restricted the ability of the visually impaired to play a role in the community.
As some of you would know, I was refused carriage by two taxis in Perth on two consecutive days early last year, he told the Australian Taxi Industry Association annual conference in Adelaide.
More recently, cabs have driven off from ranks where my dog and I have been standing in Sydney and Melbourne.
Drivers must know that to refuse passengers with assistance animals is against the law.”