Monday, February 12, 2007

There He Goes Again

Remember when I linked to a column by Irfan Hussain in which he only talked about what he'd been eating for the last few weeks? Well, check out he begins his column this week:
I have been commanded by my dear friend Ijazul Hassan to write about parathas and malai this week.

I love Irfan Hussain. At least he closes his column with a discussion on something other than his culinary habits.
Talking of drink, I was heartened to note that some Muslim taxi drivers at American airports are refusing to accept passengers with duty-free bags containing liquor bottles. The reason these drivers give is that transporting people who drink alcohol is against Islam. Excuse me? I do not recall any mention of yellow cabs in the scriptures. And who offered them a drink anyway? Perhaps these cabbies should refuse to carry non-Muslims altogether. Of course, it is Muslims (this sinner among them) who are often seen carrying the heaviest duty-free bags. Or passengers hailing a cab should be asked to recite the Kalima. What next? Will they start asking couples for marriage certificates?

But seriously, it is these same taxi drivers who then complain of the rise of Islamophobia in the West. Hell, if a cabbie refused to drive me just because I was carrying a bottle of Scotland’s finest, I would be mightily pissed off. Just who do these jokers think they are?

In the UK, if a cabbie refuses to pick up a passenger, he can be reported to the authorities. How would Muslims react if cabbies at Heathrow or JFK airports refused to drive them into town because they wore beards and burqas? The way things are going, this kind of discrimination isn’t far away.

It is this sort of in-your-face attitude where the most bizarre version of Islam is provocatively brandished that is leading to the widening gulf between Muslims in the West and their host communities. Many Europeans and Americans feel they are harbouring a fifth column in their midst. And the way many Muslims behave now, who can blame them? While people are generally polite and politically correct, there is a growing resentment against the increasing militancy and shrillness in the Muslim community.

No comments: