Cabdrivers' Protest Hurts Perceptions of Muslim Community

October 27, 2006

Author: Nazir Alimohammad

Source: USA Today

Muslim cabdrivers in Minnesota who are refusing passengers carrying alcohol is the second controversial issue brought up by the Muslim population and featured in USA TODAY; the first was the demand for separate fitness areas for Muslim women. Both touch on the conflict between American freedoms and Muslims' religion ("Cabbies, culture clash at Minn. airport," News, Wednesday; "Effort to accommodate Muslim women's modesty spurs debate," News, June 14).

Immigrants to the USA come to these shores to enjoy the freedom that is the promise of America. We have a secular government, which does not interfere in religious affairs. The determination of religious affairs is left up to the community at large.

With the freedoms enjoyed by all in this country comes the responsibility to recognize that others also have the right to enjoy such freedoms. Alcohol is not illegal to purchase or drink in the USA.

Muslims, myself included, must recognize that restrictions in our religion do not apply to all in this country. To gain respect and tolerance for ourselves, we must learn to respect and tolerate others.

A service provider has every right to refuse service to a customer, but not based on religious discrimination. One of the freedoms in this country is freedom from discrimination.

The employer of these cabdrivers also has the freedom to reject employees who lack religious tolerance.

A vocal minority, lacking respect and common sense, is having a bad influence on perceptions about the Muslim community in America.