Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Muslim taxi driver refused to give disabled woman's dog lift during Ramadan

A Muslim taxi driver refused to give a lift to a disabled woman's dog – because he thought it broke the rules of Ramadan. The cabbie told the woman to use the cab parked behind his as he thought he was barred from carrying the dog for religious reasons. He was later issued with 12 penalty points following the incident, which happened in August 2013. The driver, who we can only identify from the name used in council papers as K, was so confused by the incident he contacted his Imam to ask for advice on what he should have done. He was told by the Imam that he should have given the woman and her dog a lift – as he could have atoned for any breach of Ramadan's rules after the event. Wealden District Council's licensing sub-committee discussed the matter on October 2, and considered whether K was still considered a fit and proper person to hold a taxi licence. Councillors stressed taxi drivers could not refuse to carry a disabled passenger or any assistance animal unless they were medically exempt from doing so under the Equalities Act. And they added that next time he should consider whether working during Ramadan was a good idea. The committee eventually decided it was clear that K had sought religious direction on the matter, and that he was now fully aware of his duties as a licensed driver and that he should not lose his job as a result of the incident. Dave Stitchman, owner of East Grinstead's King Of The Road Cars taxi firm, said he would have respected the driver's religious beliefs. He said: "I have not ever had a Muslim driver at the firm but we once had a Turkish man who just didn't turn up on his first day. Personally I would have tried to resolve the situation quickly to help both the taxi driver and the client. "I'm not too sure what the rules of Ramadan are so I would have a quick look on the internet and tell the driver what he can and can't do. I would explain the situation to the client and be honest and up front about the reason why the driver feels the way he does."

No comments: