A New York taxi driver who said his Muslim religion prevented him from allowing a female passenger to ride up front in his cab, was fined by a city judge who didn’t buy his excuse.
Tamsir Drammeh, 64, was slapped with a discrimination suit by the woman who alleged the cabby would not unlock the door to allow her into the front passenger seat after her husband and children had climbed into the back, the New York Post reported.
Drammeh, who was fined by the city in September and suspended for one day, claimed his religion would not allow him to be that close to a stranger of the opposite sex. He lost the case at a city hearing and again on appeal, hit with a $350 fine for his discrimination.
Judge Laura Fieber wasn’t buying Drammeh’s Islam argument and said he needed to keep his religion out of the way of his public service, according to the Post.
“That his religion did not allow him to sit next to a woman is not an acceptable defense in an occupation that is operated to serve the public,” said Fieber. “Of significance, respondent made it clear that the husband would be welcome in the front seat, while the wife/complainant would not be.”
The judge was not alone, as fellow Muslims on Friday agreed that the driver’s argument was a bit far-fetched, the Post reported.
“There’s no such rule in Islam,” said the manager at his garage in Brooklyn, who did not give his name. “There’s no such thing.”
A Middle Eastern studies professor at Columbia University, Hossein Kamaly, said sometimes Muslims have their own versions of Islamic laws, interpreting them in different ways.
“There are some Muslims who wouldn’t be comfortable with that and some who would,” he said. “He’s an older man and probably an immigrant, so it’s closer to the way that he was brought up.”
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