Skip to comments.Some Sobering Lessons From Muslim Taxi Drivers (Dennis Prager Looks At Muslim Intolerance Alert)
Posted on 10/17/2006 12:02:31 AM PDT by goldstategop
Understandably, those troubled by the contemporary Muslim world point to the amount of gratuitous violence emanating from it and the apparent absence of Muslim anger against it.
In response, Muslim defenders of their faith -- and Western defenders such as Karen Armstrong and John Esposito -- inform us that the terror, suicide and cruelty that emanate from a portion of the Muslim world are all aberrations. We are assured that the average Muslim is as appalled as all other decent people are by Muslims who torture, decapitate and blow up innocent people.
Some recent news items from Britain, Australia and the United States, however, suggest that we can make a more accurate assessment of contemporary Islam by looking beyond Islamic terror and beyond the lack of Muslim opposition to it.
I am referring to news reports not about Muslim terrorists but about the far more mundane group of religious Muslims who happen to be taxi drivers. In Britain and Australia, Muslim taxi drivers refuse to pick up passengers who have a dog with them -- even when the passenger is blind and the dog is a Seeing Eye dog. Nearly all religious Muslims believe that Islam forbids them to come into contact with dogs. Therefore, Muslim taxi drivers will even drive by a blind person standing in the cold, lest they come into contact with the dog.
And in Minneapolis, Minn., Muslim taxi drivers, who make up a significant percentage of taxi drivers in that city, refuse to pick up passengers who have a bottle of wine or other alcoholic beverage with them.
This is significant. We are not talking here about Muslim fanatics or Muslim terrorists, but about decent every day Muslims. And what these practices reveal is something virtually unknown in Judeo-Christian societies -- the imposing of one's religious practices on others.
Now, many of those with a graduate degree in the humanities, and others taught how not to think clearly, will object that religious Christians do exactly this sort of thing when they try to impose their religious views on abortion, for example, on society.
But there is no analogy between a Muslim not allowing a non-Muslim to bring a bottle of wine or a dog into a Muslim-driven taxi and Christians trying to convince a democratic society to outlaw most abortions.
There is no comparing ritual prohibitions with moral prohibitions. Christians argue that taking the life of a human fetus where the mother's life is not endangered is immoral. And so do religious Jews (and Muslims) and many secular individuals -- because the issue of abortion is a moral issue. Contact with dogs, on the other hand, is a ritual issue, not a moral issue. Which is why non-Muslims do not consider it immoral -- unlike the many non-Christians who consider most abortions immoral.
And Christians and others who deem abortions immoral when the mother's health is not threatened have as much right to argue for passing laws banning most such abortions as other citizens do to pass laws banning racial discrimination.
Ah, the skeptic may argue, but what if Muslims deem human contact with a dog (except, according to Muslim jurists, for security purposes, farming and hunting) an immoral act, not just a ritually prohibited act for Muslims?
If indeed such were the Muslim argument, we would have an example of an unbridgeable difference between a Muslim conception of morality and that of non-Muslims.
There is then no analogy between Christians wanting to use the democratic process to ban a practice regarded by hundreds of millions of non-Christians as immoral and the Muslim ban on human contact with dogs, a practice regarded by no non-Muslims as immoral.
The appropriate analogy to Muslim taxi drivers refusing to take passengers accompanied by a dog or carrying a bottle of wine would be religious Jewish taxi drivers refusing to take passengers eating a ham sandwich or Mormon drivers refusing to take passengers drinking alcoholic or caffeinated drinks.
But such Jewish or Mormon examples don't exist (and if they did, religious Jews and Mormons would regard such persons as crackpots). They do not exist because Jews and Mormons do not believe that non-Jews are required to change their behavior owing to Judaism's or Mormonism's distinctive laws. Religious Muslims, on the other hand, do believe that wherever applicable, non-Muslims should change their behavior in the light of Islam's distinctive laws. And that difference is at least as important to Muslim-non-Muslim relations as the vexing issue of violent Muslims.
As for the difference between fundamentalist Muslims and fundamentalist Christians, a Christian mailman in Denver called my radio show to say that despite his profound religious objections to pornography, he could not imagine objecting to delivering even the raunchiest porn to homes that ordered it. First, religious non-Muslims, especially in America, believe that liberty, too, is a religious value; that is why Christians put a quote about liberty from the Torah on the Liberty Bell. And second, they have no doctrine that holds outsiders bound to their religious practices.
And that is why there may be more to be learned about the future of religious Muslims' relations with non-Muslims from Muslim taxi drivers than from Muslim terrorists.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus
Ironically, I see liberalism hung by it's own petard. Do we have the freedom to associate with who we wish? Well, an "all male" or "non-Jewish" country club is automatically evil, and must be considered bigoted, and therefore destroyed. Can a business only allow "certain" people inside? I must admit I am torn on this issue. Part of me thinks this is blatant discrimination that wouldn't be tolerated for a second by liberals in any other situation. On the other hand, is this guy allowed to be a bigot, or retard, or intolerant jackass? Should it be all economic? If he refuses to pick up "evil" people with alcohol, then shouldn't he therefore suffer the consequences of losing out on paying customers?
What if I were to get in the cab and eat a hot dog or sausage sandwich? Will that be next?
You bet and should those who are not bringing alcohol in the cab decide they don't want a Muslim driver?
Any driver who participates in this nonsense should deal with more than the loss of one fare.
Taxis are a regulated public utility, requried to take all legal business, in exchange for market protection from unlicensed competitors.
The proper response is to yank the guy's taxi license.
(Or get government out of the taxi regulating bidness...but that's a topic for a different thread...)
I think everyone should bring bottles of alcohol to taxi stands.
Then again, I see no difference between this and pharmacists who refuse to give out RU-486, or such things.
So the parable of the taxi driver teaches us that Islam has yet to taste of the Scottish Enlightenment. No Enlightenment means no tolerance, no notion that tolerance is essential to civilization.
What are we to do with this insight? If you are a rabid Muslim hater (there are such people after all) you are inclined to say, "see, I told you so, there is no dealing with these people, negotiation means appeasement and appeasement means only defeat, Islam must be defeated which means that Islam must be annihilated." If you are a liberal, you react in horror to such a stance, you call it the equivalent of racism, and proclaim that the root causes of Muslim intolerance must be dealt with. If you are a conservative, you reject the first as morally wrong and physically impossible (there are after all 1.4 billion Muslims in the world), and the second as impractical (we are in a war in which crazed Islamo- fundamentalists would cheerfully blow up or cities and murder us by the millions and there is not that much time or money or even patience in the enlightened world to get the job done).
So what is the conservative solution? The problem is that the world of Islam is so intolerant that it is dangerous and mortally dangerous at that to our civilization, our democracy, and our children's very lives. But the Muslim does not see himself as unenlightened. He is sure he is possessed of all of the Enlightenment there is to have and it is divine enlightenment. He denies that he is intolerant and insists that he is righteous. There is no scientific method, no idea of the marketplace of ideas, no receptivity. Just as the medicine of oncology cannot kill the cancerous cell if it cannot gain entry, so the intolerant Muslim cannot hear if he will not listen.
The honest truth is that there is no conservative solution to this dilemma. If the problem were an incorrigible criminal, conservatives would know what to do: lock him up, quarantine him. But we are dealing with a fifth of the planet here. There is an entity which showed itself quite capable of dealing with huge portions of the world's population who were ignorant, violent, and in many cases, Muslim and that entity was the British Empire operating in all the glory of its enlightened imperialist age. How did the thin red line manage the uncivilized world so successfully for so long until the royal Navy passed the baton to the American Navy?
Well, they did not do it the French way, the Brits did not go native. For the most part, they maintained their standards, they provided an efficient bureaucracy, a rule of law, and an essentially honest administration. In short, they operated within the lights of their own enlightenment. The caricature of the British colonialist of the Victorian age is of an Englishman so insular and so arrogant that he was incapable of understanding or adapting to local conditions and cultures even to the extent that he would go out into the midday sun. This is wholly unfair and a misreading of history. In fact the Brits were quite observant and really good listeners. Clive did not conquer India with only 800 men by overwhelming millions, he achieved this stupendous victory by setting his enemies against each other. He read each faction carefully and manipulated them.
I have posted time and again on these threads my belief that ultimately this intergenerational, world war against 1.4 billion Muslims for the very survival of our civilization and our democracy and our children's lives must be lost if it is not won by Muslims themselves. We must become as wily as the British and mobilize what is sane in the Muslim world to save us because they must save themselves.
But in the long haul it is only Muslims who have the keys to their brothers. If the medicine is to kill the cancerous cells in the body Islam, the medicine must somehow find the portal into the cell. We cannot enlighten our taxi driver by exhorting him to be enlightened. He is deaf and blind to these Western ideas. He does not feel himself any bit enlightened but rather threatened. He is, however, likely to be receptive to ideas which are couched in the language and the idiom of Islam. Like Clive, we had better learn the idiom.
The question is more fundamental than that. In most places taxis operate under a license, and the number of licenses is limited. The pious fiction is that this insures safety, the reality is that is lessens competition and increases prices, presumably benefitting the drivers.
I really liked the proposal to color-code the "taxi" signs on the cars. While this might not help the blind man with a dog, it would theoretically allow people with alcohol to avoid muslim-driven cabs.
It would have the marvelous benefit of allowing any American at all to completely boycot muslim-driven cabs. Something I feel would be completely justified.
The current situation is unsustainable, but I wonder what happened to the enforcement mechanism we already have. The simple way to deal with the issue is to re-notify the cab drivers that they are common carriers and must take all passengers. The send out a few inspectors with dogs and bottles of wine. A hefty fine for the first infraction, say $5000, and complete loss of cab driving license for the second one would bring these guys into compliance in short order. I would even propose changing the taxi laws to provide jail time for refusing to take a guide dog.
If we do not take every opportunity to demonstrate to muslims that they must comply with the laws of the US, rather than forcing the US to comply with their laws we will lose the war with islam.
Next thing you know they won't let in women that do not wear a burkha. They must not be allowed to get away with this!
No such 'animal' exists.
You have 1.4 billion Muslims to wage war against. When does the bombing start? I assume you will want to go nuke right away to kill all of them if you can because even a few in our midst can cause us terrible damage.
Today's taxi drivers may well be tomorrow's suicide murderers. The taxi drivers may talk and smile during the day, while plotting to kill us all at night.
Let me guess, your english?
Frankly, I'm P.O.ed. And ready to kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out.
I'll listen to and try anything to stop genocide, but when I'm the victim of the genocide, well, to quote one famous American, "...let the other poor dumb bastard die for his country..."
I posted this before, maybe it will explain our dilemma and our urgent need for a strategy that might work.
You forget to mention that the reason the Brits were able to install some semblance of civilization and reason among the Muslims is that the Brits were a superior military force; the Muslims were weak and unable to confront them. (Muslim pirates did have great success in fighting the British in the Mediterranean, which of course is where we came into it.)
Muslims are fine and will accept reason as long as they are afraid of us and know that we have superior force. The advent of assymetrical warfare with disproportionately powerful weapons has changed all that.
In other words, we're going to have to deal with it some other way. Bush has been trying the British approach - go to Iraq, take out the tyrant, and install a civil society that permits Muslims the freedom to get out of the clutches of their repressive and backwards religion. But, IMHO, it's not working. Conditions have changed. We have worldwide paths of communications and transportation that Muslims use only for death and destruction. The idea of creating an enclave of rationality in the midst of the irrational Muslim world, and hoping that this will spread seems to me to be virtually impossible, because the retrograde forces of Islam have used modern technology to become omnipresent and are seeking even more modern technology to have destructive power that they believe will force the entire world to submit to them.
This is a revelation. It gets to the heart of the difference between mohamadanism and religion. The muslims do not have any moral code; they expunged morality and imposed ritual in its place.
This is not religion, it's mass hypnosis.
The difference is that most of the pharmicists - if not all - became pharmacists at a time when these drugs did not even exist and it was unthinkable that somebody would be asked to prescribe such a thing. The same is true in Europe of places where civil authorities are being forced to "marry" gays. This didn't exist when they came into this business, and they should be exempted.
Furthermore, those acts are positive acts. That is, the person is actively doing something to promote something he regards as immoral. A Muslim enforcing his ritual proscription on dogs on some innocent taxi passenger is not doing the same thing; nobody was asking him to buy a dog, own a dog or have anything to do with it other than carry the passenger and the passenger's dog.
Muslims knew perfectly well that things like dogs and alcohol were and are legitimate in the US, and they knew when they started driving cabs that they were supposed to carry everyone.
Furthermore, the point that they are basically trying to enforce their ritual proscriptions on everyone else is a very significant point. Jews don't eat pork, but they don't insist that supermarkets stop carrying it.
I am in Spain at the moment, and a friend of mine hired a Moroccan woman to look after a place the family owns out in the country. There are a couple of dogs there.
The Muslim woman was initially fine with this, but then she married another Muslim - an "imam" from Morocco. Suddenly she started appearing in a full veil, and then she stopped feeding the dogs. My friend now goes out to feed the dogs and has gotten some self-feeders and self-waterers for them so the Muslim woman won't have anything to do with them.
I think she should fire the woman, although it might be difficult with Spanish laws. Also, she feels sorry for the Muslim woman, who told her that she was so grateful to this man who married her, because she has some sort of problem with one eye that makes her damaged goods in the Muslim slave - er, wife - market and she was afraid nobody would marry her.
The Muslim woman is obviously being used by her husband as a kind of advance guard. I hate to think what kind of meetings might be taking place at that house, btw, when the Muslims are around there between the my friend's visits.
The Israelis in Lebanon and ourselves in Iraq and to a lesser extent, in Afghanistan have demonstrated that our overwhelming superiority in Blitzkrieg warfare is greatly reduced when we undertake to occupy the very same territory we have so easily overrun. This reality coupled with a fanatical, indeed suicidal, willingness, indeed eagerness to sustain casualties means that our ability to intimidate is grossly reduced. You are quite right to point this out. I have been posting along these lines for some time.
As you said, "it's not working." I would add that if one looks at the forest instead of the trees, our situation in Iraq is counterproductive. I defined the forest to be Iran and the overall global war against Islamic fundamentalism. This is congruent with your statement in which you note, "disproportionately powerful weapons". If Iran gets the bomb it will be catastrophic for American interests everywhere. It must be the categorical aim of American foreign policy to prevent Iran getting the bomb. Our experience in Lebanon and Iraq and Afghanistan have only compromised our ability to intimidate countries like Iran and North Korea from getting the bomb.
Iraq has left us without allies, attenuated militarily, exposed as unable to cope with asymmetrical warfare in the context of an occupying army at a level of sustainable casualties, and without any good military or geopolitical options to bring to bear against Iran and, to a lesser degree, North Korea.
As you said, "The idea of creating an enclave of rationality in the midst of the irrational Muslim world, and hoping that this will spread seems to me to be virtually impossible". You say that the reason for this failure is that retrograde Islam as use modern technology to thwart it. Until one gets to the level of the bomb, I see the modern technology as a tool, or a weapon, but not an end strategy in itself. I believe Bush's noble attempt to unlock the Muslim mind with democracy is stumbling over our taxi driver.
Warning! This is a high-volume ping list.
I'm sure the ACLU is on top of this. /s
I'm with you Monroe. If they want to pick and choose their customers, especially to decide whom to allow into an enclosed space with them where mayhem might occur unwitnessed, I'm all for choice---and each person seeing to his own personal safety. You can still choose not to get into a particular cab, and we should uphold the cabbie's right to decline a fare.
However, if I were in the city depending on cabs, I'd find myself a hand muff that looked like a Yorkie. Hoist the pooch and see who stops. :)
(It has the dual advantage of peeving PETA and Muslims.)
Excellent way of putting it. And our taxi driver wouldn't have come up with this himself (remember, they initially had no objection to transporting dogs or alcohol) until modern communications made it possible for some sheik in a mud hut in Pakistan to communicate with and control him, even here in the heart of modernity.
Much of your strategic suggestions are sound. I would add another, although I suspect a lot would oppose it. I believe we cannot meet the Muslims head to head on ideology until we get back in touch with our own heritage in the Judeo-Christian standard.
Muslims see themselves living a more holy life than do we. They believe they have a special, covenant relationship with God (Allah). Christians and Jews believe the same thing but a huge majority no longer act like they do. Until we ourselves do more to purge our society of pornography, rampant dishonesty, sexualizing of casual relationships, immorality and other vices, we can't communicate with devout Muslims. If they believe they care more about their God than do we of ours, we are ships passing in the night.
I am one of those who believe this society is living on borrowed light right now. The strength that came from moral, holy lives is dissipating rapidly and unless we do the hard work of deciding what in our society constitutes enlightenment and what constitutes hedonism or paganism, we are at a loss to dictate to Muslims what standards they should follow.
Our lives should be examples of what God-loving people are so that we can attract Muslims to either leave a destructive philosophy or reform it. Defiantly placing ourselves four-square behind the Madonnas and Boy Georges and Donald Trumps and "Sopranos" of this world just strengthens Muslim belief that our society has nothing to offer it beyond a chance to make some money.
Until we are willing to put our lives where our mouths are and clean our own house, we are at a tremendous disadvantage against those who believe they are living lives in accordance with divine laws. I'm not positing a return to Puritanism but I do believe we can do better to stand up against the gay agenda, gambling, pornography, public profanity and immodesty and other vices we know isn't ultimately good for any society and least of all for our children.
LOL! What an image!
Please, the Spanish government itself would be all over her if she tried to fire the woman.
Kids here have their religion classes once a week during a certain period of the school day, which can instead be used for ethics classes or simply skipped by those who don't want it. This year Spain has reduced or refused to credit Catholic religious instruction in the school system, and has added over 100 hours of religious instruction in Islam (including in places that have no Muslims) and has adopted a textbook produced by a Spanish Muslim group, the name of which translates to "Getting to Know Islam." This is all part of their idiot PM's "Alianza de Culturas," which essentially means that Spain will probably go Muslim within the next 10-15 years, if nothing else changes.
Think you responded to the wrong poster, my friend.
I felt like a foreigner in my own country. The place is like a mini Middle East, with burka wearing women, men wearing the head coverings and carrying rugs, getting on their knees praying, and so forth.
I, as an American woman wearing t-shirts and shorts, have never felt so uncomfortable in my life. In my own country.
If looks could kill, I'da been a dead woman.
A fatwa against dogs now, man's best friend? (so to speak).
"Today's taxi drivers may well be tomorrow's suicide murderers. The taxi drivers may talk and smile during the day, while plotting to kill us all at night."
Indeed. Some of the 9/11 hijackers drove cabs in Boston.
The lesson to be learned here is this . . .
This is what happens when a modern nation like the United States becomes so thoroughly reliant on immigrants to serve as a source of cheap labor. The cab drivers who refuse to accommodate certain passengers have a lot of leverage here -- mainly because most people in this country have no interest in driving cabs.
A cult. BINGO.
You bring up an interesting question: Are passengers allowed to request a non-Muslim taxi?
"If they want to pick and choose their customers, especially to decide whom to allow into an enclosed space with them where mayhem might occur unwitnessed, I'm all for choice---and each person seeing to his own personal safety. You can still choose not to get into a particular cab, and we should uphold the cabbie's right to decline a fare."
Then cabbies should not be protected from competition as they are now.
Since the public has given them a franchise, they have an obligation to serve that same public without discrimination.
How ironic is it that people like these cab drivers may not only be tomorrow's suicide bombers -- but that they may also be the most effective tool this country has in opposing the Left's radical agenda (i.e., abortion on demand, the "gay rights" movement, etc.)?
I disagree. You don't hear about it because no one brings a bottle of wine to a doctor's office, or an engineer.
Prager == Clarity
The issue is crystal Prager.
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