Muslim Taxi Drivers Adapt Ritual to a Life of Roaming

May 28, 2004

Source: New York Daily News

On May 28, 2004 the New York Daily News reported, "You drive a cab, wafted across the city on the whims of your fares. But you are Muslim, and must pray five times a day - which involves ablutions, facing east and a series of prostrations in submission to God. What to do? With the age-old ingenuity of immigrants adapting to a new world, Muslim cabbies in New York - by one estimate, half of the city's 40,000 taxi drivers - have devised a jury-rigged system. The drivers congregate in South Asian restaurants that provide prayer space in basements or back rooms. They have an imprint of the city's mosques in their brains, at the ready wherever a fare may take them as prayer time closes in. Using a small carpet kept in the trunk, they pray in the back seat, or even on the side of the road. 'Wherever we be, in the city, there is a place to pray,' said Amar Abdemula, 42, a Sudanese cabdriver who lives in Flatbush."