Devout New York City Muslim cabbies got a rude awakening when they got tickets for double-parking outside a Manhattan mosque while they were inside saying Friday prayers for Ramadan.
One officer single-handedly placed nearly 100 tickets on cabs parked in the vicinity of the Islamic Cultural Center in the city’s Upper West Side neighborhood, cab driver Mohammad Zaman told the New York Post.
“This is a special prayer time, a time for religion. We double-park here every Friday and they [allow it], but today they gave us all tickets, almost 100 cabs,’’ he said.
Zaman, who has been a worshiper at the mosque for nine years, was ticketed, and it wasn’t cheap: $115 for double-parking.
This has never happened before,’’ he told the Post.
“I can’t help but to think they are being prejudiced. They don’t understand. We have to be here.”
Double-parking is a practice in which someone parks in the street straddling two cars already parked at the curb so that each of the two cars already parked can get out, at least theoretically.
A volunteer at the mosque confirmed that police used to ignore the double-parkers outside the mosque.
But lately, “maybe three or four times [this month], I’ve seen them go down the line giving tickets to cabs, and [they’re] getting strict again,” the volunteer told the Post.
Another cabbie said Muslims aren’t allowed to miss Friday prayers.
“It is mandatory in our religion to come to the mosque every Friday. It’s our duty,” Mohammad Choudhury said.
“Other places, they are OK with double-parking — people do it everywhere here. But now they won’t let us? Most of us only come for one hour.”
Driver M.D. Shomuz, a six-year worshiper at the mosque, confirmed that the ticketing started only recently.
“No one has been given tickets before, but today everyone got one,” he said.
“It’s frustrating, but what can I do?” he added.
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