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Muslim cab drivers in Minneapolis - St. Paul refuse to serve passengers carrying alcohol

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Many Muslim cab drivers in Minneapolis/St. Paul area refuse to serve passengers carrying alcohol according to an article in the October 1, 2006 issue of the New York Times.

Hundreds of Muslim cabdrivers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport may soon be required to put different colored lights atop their vehicles after refusing to take customers they know are carrying alcohol.

The proposal, which would allow airport workers to direct travelers to cabs more efficiently, needs approval from the airport’s taxicab advisory committee, and airport officials hope to have the lights ready by year’s end.

If the proposal is adopted, cabdrivers without the light who refuse a fare will be sent to the back of the line, which often means a three-hour wait.

Some said they would rather wait for another fare than carry a passenger with alcohol. “It is forbidden in Islam to carry alcohol,” said Muhamed Mursal, a cabdriver.

Pat Hogan, an airport spokesman, said a handful of drivers began refusing to carry alcohol 10 years ago. Now he estimates that three-quarters of the 900 airport cabdrivers are Somali, most of them Muslim.

Mr. Hogan said drunken passengers have not had trouble getting a cab, just the ones who mention that they are carrying a bottle. He said, “It’s slowly grown over the years to the point that it’s become a significant customer service issue for us.”

Link: Muslim Cabdrivers May Have to Signify Alcohol-Free Cars - New York Times.

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