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Muslim Cabbies Want Parking While Praying

From the religion section of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Taxi cabs and limousine drivers must pass through the O’Hare Commercial Vehicle Staging Area before picking up travelers at the airport. Drivers often have to wait one to two hours, but pass time by socializing inside and outside of their cabs. Some drivers sleep, while others do other activities such as play soccer, make phone calls, do homework, or pray.

Muslim cabbies get tickets while praying

Drivers say police at O’Hare have fined 500 for blocking lanes

September 16, 2007


Faisal, a taxicab driver who works at O’Hare Airport, wants to be a good cabbie while staying true to his Muslim faith.

But Muslim cabdrivers are finding the latter difficult lately, as they’ve been hit with a rash of tickets for parking in access lanes leading to the airport terminals near where the city helped set up a prayer trailer for them.

“For most of us who need to pray, that’s part of our religious duty,” said Faisal, a 13-year-cab veteran who declined to give his last name…

Drivers such as Faisal say they mean no harm by parking in the lanes leading to the prayer trailer on the grounds of O’Hare’s commercial lot — which either have no-parking signs posted or are meant for brief stops…

Drivers are particularly worried about receiving tickets as they celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, a time for steadfast prayer, fasting and spiritual reawakening…

The commercial access area is the staging ground for taxis and limo drivers who use various lanes to park their cars for shift changes or for a brief lunch stop. It is only open to commercial vehicles that pick up passengers at the airport and is maintained by the city’s Department of Aviation.

Wolfgang J. Weiss, one of the managing directors of the Chicago Professional Taxicab Drivers Association, said more than 500 cabs have been ticketed. Ultimately, drivers are responsible for paying the tickets — ranging from $50 to $80 — which can cut their daily profit in half, Weiss said…

But Weiss admits that authorities probably won’t give them a break, so his association is going to petition Mayor Daley and others for relief.

Aviation Department spokesman Greg Cunningham said authorities do not want to interrupt Muslims and their prayer habits. But he contends that cabbies must follow the rules at a facility that needs to be clear of traffic in order for operations to run smoothly and safely.

“It’s a temporary parking and holding area,” Cunningham said. “If a vehicle blocks off other vehicles from leaving the facility, it becomes a problem.”

Iqbal, another Muslim cabdriver, said the city is punishing honest people duty-bound to their faith. “It doesn’t happen every day,” he said…

Gee, what a perfect excuse for a car bomber to leave his car near an airport.

They ought to be grateful that they are just getting ticketed.

In any case, given all their problems, maybe the practitioners of Islam should just not take jobs as taxicab drivers.

Surely there must be other fields of endeavor that would allow them to pray five times a day and to avoid any contact whatsoever with alcohol, pork or dogs — or any of the other myriad of things they consider haraam.

Or maybe they should just move to an Islamic country.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, September 17th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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