Received by email from D. Pipes:
A further decision is due in the controversy over taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport who refuse to transport passengers visibly carrying alcohol. The Metropolitan Airports Commission, which has jurisdiction over the drivers, invites the public’s opinion; and I urge your involvement.
MAC has sent a notice (which I have posted in full on my website, at http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/679#meeting
that recounts developments since its decision in October 2006 to deny requests by drivers to distinguish between Shar’i-compliant and –noncompliant taxis. MAC writes:
For the past several months, the Metropolitan Airports Commission has worked with airport taxi industry representatives and with leaders from the Muslim American Society and the Somali Justice Advocacy League. The goal was to find a solution acceptable to everyone and transparent to the customer seeking airport taxi service. Unfortunately, those discussions have not resulted in a workable, voluntary, consensus-based solution. As a result, the Airports Commission is proposing stricter penalties for refusal of service: a 30-day suspension of a driver’s airport taxi license for the first instance, and license revocation for a second instance.
Bravo to MAC. It is important that the drivers be sent a strong signal that they must obey the regulations. Were they allowed to boycott travelers with alcohol, I pointed out in “Don’t Bring That Booze into My Taxi,” that would intrude Islamic law “into a mundane commercial transaction in Minnesota” and could lead to the transport system as a whole being divided “between those Islamically observant and those not so.”
I appealed to readers in October to urge MAC to impose penalties on those who insist on imposing Shar’i norms in Minnesota and to send a message that this practice is unacceptable. The barrage of e-mails and phone calls had the hoped-for effect. According to airport spokesman Patrick Hogan back then, “we’ve heard from Australia and England. It’s really touched a nerve among a lot of people. The backlash, frankly, has been overwhelming. People are overwhelmingly against any kind of cultural accommodation.”
Again now, I appeal to all those opposed to application of the Shari‘a in the United States to make their views heard in Minnesota. You can do this in either of two ways.
In writing: MAC is asking for “input from the public” through Friday, March 2, 2007, before it makes a decision on the proposed increase in penalties. Written comments should be addressed to:
Landside Operations Department
Metropolitan Airports Commission
MSP International Airport/Lindbergh Terminal
4300 Glumack Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55111-3010.
In person: For those living in the Twin Cities area, MAC will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, February 27, 2007, at 2 p.m., to solicit testimony from the public via verbal or written testimony. The location will be at:
Ramada Mall of America (formerly, the Thunderbird Hotel)
2300 East American Boulevard
I thank you in advance.