16 2 mins 11 yrs

Interesting situation here. A blind man says he was refused use of a taxi in Letchworth because the Muslim driver would not allow his guide dog in the car.

Blind journalist Sean Dilley with Chipp

Stevenage resident Sean Dilley had been at Letchworth Sports and Tennis Club in Muddy Lane with his guide dog Chipp on Sunday evening for a blind tennis demonstration. Friends had organised for a taxi driver to pick up the 29-year-old after the event and take him back to Letchworth rail station. But when the driver arrived shortly after 7pm to pick him up, he refused to let Sean and Chipp in the car. “The driver turned up and said you are more than welcome but I’m not taking your dog,” said Sean, who has been blind for 15 years. “He said it was because he was a Muslim. I was horrified. This sort of thing happens all the time and it’s not acceptable.” The debate between Sean and the driver was caught on camera by a friend. It has been reported that some strands of Islam teach that dogs should be avoided because the animal’s saliva is considered to be impure. Sean is a freelance broadcaster and parliamentary lobby correspondent for talkSPORT and last year made a film for the BBC’s Daily Politics show highlighting how many businesses and restaurants refused entry to guide dogs.
Thinking about it, I support the taxi driver. He should have the right to let whoever he wants in his cab. Of course it is abhorrent that he would deny a Blind person their guide dog but he should not be FORCED into accepting this demand. Now, be honest, did you expect me to take this line?
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16 thoughts on “NO DOGS WELCOME

  1. This is not new. It has been recorded at American Airports where guide dogs and their blind owners have been discriminated against and it is quite easy to stop. All one has to do is record the drivers number or name if the cab is a registered cab and report the incident to the registering authority. This authority can then remove the cab drivers registration. Problem solved. Or is it? The problem is solved if the registering authority has the guts to remove the registration. They should have because to refuse transportation to a blind customer is a pretty low thing to do and this sort of discrimination must be jumped on at first appearance and is not regarded as a negotiable feast.

  2. David

    Of course it is discrimination. The word simply means to treat differently. It happens all the time and everyone does it. What matters is the degree to which civil society permits discrimination. You can go down the libertarian route of allowing every individual or orgamisation to discriminate hower it chooses – No black No Jews etc. or you can decide that civil decency and a more harmonious society requires public rules against certain factors of discrimination. It’s then just a matter of debate how you distinguish the balance.

  3. Civil society is perfectly capable of organising itself and it does so all the time through discrimination. Discrimination is natural and good. It discretely allows us to stay away from those we want to stay away from. Whoever disagrees can try to persuade me they leave the doors to their private property wide open for all to come in at all times.

    Having said that … if the cab is licenced then the driver may have broken the terms of the licence. If so, what fun seeing a council deciding whether or not to censure a muslim.

    Of course, ‘state’ licencing is also the problem …

  4. “Of course, ‘state’ licencing is also the problem …”

    Well you could knock me down with a feather!! That’s the last thing I would ever have expected you to say, Pete 🙂

  5. I mostly agree with Pete on this, if the cab requires a licence then the driver probably broke the terms of the licence.

    As with the B&B owners who have refused to allow gay men to share rooms I’m torn between the right of free assembly and the negative effects on the people caught up in that.

    When someone hires a taxi, an implicit understanding is that guide dogs are allowed and when someone rents a room in a B&B the assumption is that their sex life is irrelevent. Therefore I think that if firms do decide to discriminate in ways that are counter to the norms of the trade then the policy should be clear and publicly stated so that customers can have reasonable foreknowledge of their policies.

  6. In the internet discourse of our times I am surprised no one asked if the dog objected to the Muslim.

  7. “Now, be honest, did you expect me to take this line?”

    Negative, David. I thought you would defend a member of the public and expose the discrimination of the Muslim. If I were a cabbie in Belfast with a warrant from the taxi commission and refused to allow any Protestant in my cab because they might contaminate the plastic statue of the Virgin Mary on the dashboard would you defend my stance?

    “It has been reported that some strands of Islam teach that dogs should be avoided because the animal’s saliva is considered to be impure.”

    The driver wasn’t asked to French-Kiss the canine just allow a blind person’s seeing-eye dog get into his cab.

  8. Eddie

    There is no such teaching in Catholicism but Muslims are pretty consistent about dogs so they should have the right to refuse to deal with them. Of course the cab companies who employ drivers should also have the right to be “guide dog-friendly” and decline to employ people who were not willing to carry dogs. And we as consumers should be entitled to support those companies advertising themselves as guide dog-friendly.

    Maximum freedom for everyone.

  9. Anyone who denies service to a blind man is not fit to be a licensed cab driver.

    Permanent loss of license should e the penalty for a first offense.

    No tolerance for intolerance.

  10. There is another problem which has also been raised in America, that it the transport of alcoholic beverages (Duty Free’s) in a Moslem driven taxi from Airport to City. Customers have rightly been enraged when Muslims have refused to carry such items claiming it is against their religion. Makes you wonder why Muslims become Taxi Drivers in the first case.

  11. But that is where religion is used as an excuse and it amazes me how readily people fall for it, such as the situations in some supermarkets where some Muslim check out staff won’t process alcohol sales. This is nothing to do with following the tenets of your faith. Muslims are prevented from drinking alcohol, that’s it that’s all. Everything else is political posturing.

  12. Quoting directly from the relevant documentation of the North Herts Hackney Carriage License gives us :-

    E7.3 A driver must carry assistance dogs when required. Assistance dogs include
    guide dogs for the blind or partially sighted, hearing dogs for the hard of
    hearing, and other assistance dogs which assist disabled people with a
    physical impairment.

    E7.4 Any driver with a medical condition, which may be exacerbated by dogs,
    may apply for exemption from this condition. On production of suitable
    medical evidence, a certificate of exemption will be issued which must be
    carried in the vehicle at all times. Unless the certificate of exemption is
    available in the vehicle, the exemption will not apply.

    So unless the muslim driver carries a certificate stating he is allergic to doggies, he will lose his licence if he don’t pick the blind man + doggie up in his cab.

    Ain’t the Law a wonderful thing!

  13. This is.a just law, similar to what most places have.

    If a driver does not care to obey the laws applicable to cab drivers, they are free to do something else, where they don’t serve the public.

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