My last two articles on immigration stirred up quite a maelstrom. Now here is another tidbit that is sure to add more grist to the mill. Many Muslim cab drivers, operating out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are refusing to take passengers carrying alcohol. Some passengers, who do manage to engage one of these cabs, have found themselves dumped unceremoniously, mid-ride, on city streets, when the drivers found out there was liquor in their luggage. Some city drivers even refuse customers who are carrying a bottle of wine or liquor with their groceries.
Most of these cab drivers are Somali immigrants; and Minnesota has nearly 50,000 of them. The unauthorized ‘ban’ is the result of a fatwa issued, a year ago, by a group of local imams, who called alcohol “the mother of all evils” and told drivers it was not permissible to transport passengers carrying alcohol “because it involves cooperating in sin.” And that’s not all. Some Muslim supermarket cashiers are refusing to scan pork items at the check-out counter, leading to frequent flare ups with outraged customers.
This issue is not about illegal immigrants. I am presuming that most of the Somali cab drivers are legal immigrants; because they have managed to obtain a taxi license. It is a question of assimilation – and here I am solidly on the side of the conservatives. I am not positive about this, but it is likely that most of these guys achieved legal immigrant status, based on political asylum – escaping from political persecution in Somalia. That seems justified, because it is a known fact that Somalia has been in political turmoil for years. Remember Black Hawk Down? Which is all the more reason, the refugees should be damn grateful that they have been granted the opportunity to live in a free society – where their standard of living has suddenly shot up a hundredfold. They have no business – and no right – to impose their religious convictions on others who do not share their faith.
Sometimes, too much freedom – in the hands of those not equipped to handle it – can be a bad thing. This was demonstrated with chilling effect in Britain; where over tolerant authorities enabled the emergence of a home grown fundamentalist movement – culminating in the dreadful London Underground bombings.
On May 11, Minneapolis airport authorities enacted tough penalties on cab drivers who refused passengers. A first offense results in a 30-day suspension of the driver’s license. Subsequent violations bring a two-year revocation. It’s a step in the right direction but, in my opinion, not tough enough. Those imams need to be reminded that they are in America at the pleasure of the US government – and that, if they don’t get their act together – they can be shipped back home. That ought to shut them up.