The Taxi Jihad Continues
Muslim cabbies in Milwaukee are still trying to impose shari’a law on their passengers, and refusing to pick up blind passengers with seeing-eye dogs.
Cultural clashes are not a new problem in the cabbing world. Earlier this year, some Muslim cab drivers in Minneapolis refused to drive passengers carrying alcohol because they said their faith forbade them from doing so.
Other drivers were concerned about carrying passengers with dogs because of an Islamic interpretation that dog saliva is unclean. Top Muslim religious leaders denounced this view, but some drivers are still uncomfortable transporting dogs.
“Some of the drivers feel that if they touch a dog it is unholy,” Christensen said, while adding, “It is our policy that they have to service the ride.”
When calling for a cab, passengers with guide dogs must notify American United that the animal is along for the ride. This helps drivers identify blind passengers in a crowd, and also allows drivers allergic to dogs to decline the job. Once a driver accepts an order, however, the driver must service it or wait an hour before picking up another ride. That is incentive enough for most cabbies to keep the rides they pick up, Christensen said.“Drivers are out there to make money,” he said. “If they don’t service a ride, they don’t get paid.” …
Heesen and some of the other cab riders, however, are still hesitant to call for a taxi because they do not believe the problem is fixed. They also fear that catching a cab will be even harder if the County Board approves a transit system proposal to cut paratransit and bus service throughout the area.
Sarah Heesen, Steve’s sister who is also blind, has a plan. “I guess I just need to learn to drive,” she said, sarcastically.