Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 30, 2007 / 11 Nissan, 5767

Intolerance in the Twin Cities

By Linda Chavez


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Tolerance is a two-way street, as a group of Somali taxi drivers in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., are about to find out. In May, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) in the Twin Cities is set to adopt new rules that will punish cabbies who refuse to haul passengers carrying liquor, even though the drivers claim their Muslim faith forbids them to do so.


The issue has come to a head in the Twin Cities because a popular local imam issued a fatwa last June forbidding Muslim drivers from transporting liquor in their taxis. The prohibition is not widely shared among Muslims elsewhere in the United States, but it has caused quite a stir in Minneapolis and St. Paul, home to the nation's largest Somali community. More than 600 airport taxi drivers in the cities are Somali, most of them Muslim.


According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, about 100 passengers each month are denied transportation for carrying alcohol. But that will change if the MAC goes forward with a plan to suspend for 30 days the license of any driver who refuses customers for reasons other than safety; a second offense could lead the driver to lose his license for two years.


Some Muslim drivers claim the rules single them out for religious persecution — and they vow to fight the penalties as an infringement of religious liberty. What the drivers seem to be saying is, we expect non-Muslims to respect our beliefs and practices, but we aren't required to tolerate theirs.


The Somali intolerance doesn't just extend to alcohol. Some drivers have also refused to carry blind passengers with guide dogs, on grounds that the Koran says dog saliva is unclean. And some Muslim store cashiers in the Twin Cities have refused to scan pork products, alleging this also violates their faith.


There is a strong tradition in the United States of granting great deference to religious practices and beliefs, but there is also a tradition of not forcing those beliefs on others who do not share them — which is where the Somalis have run afoul.


Today, these drivers are objecting to contact with customers who have alcohol, pork or dogs with them; tomorrow it may be refusing to allow women with bare heads in their cabs.


How would the Somalis feel if the shoe were on the other foot? For example, what if most Twin Cities taxi drivers belonged to a religious sect that abhorred Islamic practices, insisting that women's heads never be covered? Would the Somalis think it was perfectly fine to allow cab drivers to pass up Muslim couples if the woman was wearing traditional dress with her head covered? I doubt it.


No one has forced the Somalis to become taxi drivers. If their religious views prohibit them from having any contact with people who do not share those views, they shouldn't choose jobs in the public service sector.


Some strict religious sects remain in their own enclaves to avoid what they see as the corrupting influence of non-believers. Others venture out into the world but pick professions that offer the least conflict. You don't expect to see an Orthodox Jew becoming a pig farmer or a devout Mormon becoming a wine taster.


Of course the Somali drivers could have sought a reasonable accommodation for their scruples. They could have courteously explained to passengers that they can't touch alcohol and asked if the passengers would carry the bags containing alcohol themselves. If they did so with genuine civility, I expect most passengers would oblige without resentment.


Instead, they've tried to force the issue and caused a confrontation that can only make adjustment to their adopted country more difficult.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

Linda Chavez Archives


© 2006, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles