There is nothing much worse than when someone arrives on Facebook, has an ill-tempered rant on something and then end with the words, “rant over”, but this post is certainly going to feel like one. It’s about a subject I frequently drone on about, which is religious privilege in all its forms. May I introduce you to Abandi Kassim from Leicester.
Mr Kassim was until recently an Uber taxi driver, employed by a company called ADT taxis. In July 2016, one Charles Bloch, who is blind, booked a taxi with this firm and it duly arrived. Mr Bloch attempted to board the taxi but was refused from so doing because Mr Kassim objected to taking Mr Bloch’s guide dog in the taxi on the grounds of his religion. You will not be surprised to learn that Mr Kassim is a muslim.
I am not over familiar with the texts in the Qu’ran but I am assuming that the Prophet Mohammad had a thing about dogs not being allowed in taxis. I was not even aware that there were taxis when the supposed Prophet was around, but he would have not needed one since he was able to ascend to heaven on a winged horse, which I am guessing he didn’t have to flag down. The main issue with Mr Kassim’s decision to refuse to take Mr Bloch’s guide dog is that he broke the law and today a Magistrate’s Court found him guilty of breaking the Equality Act.
This is big stuff because here was yet another attempt to by a religious person to demand special privileges. Whether it’s praying nurses, special methods to kill animals for food, religions demanding to control schools, fanatics trying to ban euthanasia or a woman’s right to choose or an Uber taxi driver refusing to act within the law over a guide dog, we must begin to take a zero tolerance to this nonsense.
As we always have to say, no one is suggesting that people should be banned from believing in whichever god suits them most. I support the right of anyone to have “faith”. I just don’t support religious people having rights and privilege everyone else doesn’t have.
A taxi driver must know that he may be required to take a guide dog because it’s the law. If he doesn’t like the idea of having a guide dog in his cab – and here I may sound like Alf Garnett (ask your parents, kids) – then he should take on another job.
Like the broken record I sound like, I urge you to join the National Secular Society if you too are sick to death of stories like this. The NSS demands freedom for those who wish to practice their religions but freedom from religion for those of us – most of us – who have no religion. The devout are welcome to try and persuade us to sign up to their religion as I am free to point out that faith represents belief without evidence. That’s what a free country is all about.
Mr Kassim was fined £476 by the court and apologised for being “a complete dick” or words to that effect. He broke the law because of his religious superstitions. Sorry, but whilst the government panders to religion virtually all the time, the law in this case is not an ass.