Muslim Cabbies Get Tickets While Praying

September 16, 2007


Source: Chicago Sun-Times,CST-NWS-taxi16.article

Faisal, a taxicab driver who works at O'Hare Airport, wants to be a good cabbie while staying true to his Muslim faith.

But Muslim cabdrivers are finding the latter difficult lately, as they've been hit with a rash of tickets for parking in access lanes leading to the airport terminals near where the city helped set up a prayer trailer for them.

"For most of us who need to pray, that's part of our religious duty," said Faisal, a 13-year-cab veteran who declined to give his last name.

"It doesn't do us any favors if you write us a ticket and you know this guy's going to come back in five minutes and his friend is waiting outside to move the car in case of an emergency," the cabbie complained.

Drivers such as Faisal say they mean no harm by parking in the lanes leading to the prayer trailer on the grounds of O'Hare's commercial lot -- which either have no-parking signs posted or are meant for brief stops.

The cabbies say they are caught in a Catch-22 -- that the city provided them the location in which to practice their faith, but punishes them when they park and pray.