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Austin Cline

Muslim Driver: Get Off the Bus, I Need to Pray

By April 2, 2008

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Demands by religious believers for exemptions to standard expectations for their jobs have not only been increasing in frequency, they've been increasing in the sense of how extreme and ridiculous they are. As an argument against allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, I and others have offered the analogy of a bus driver refusing to let off a woman near a Planned Parenthood office. If we allow the former, why not allow the latter even though it's patently absurd?

No exemption is too absurd to be demanded, though — that's the conclusion I've come to. In Britain, a Muslim bus driver didn't refuse to let someone off at the "wrong" place, he insisted that everyone get off because he wanted to pray! I can understand how important the five daily prayers are to Muslims, but Muslims surely understand that jobs in a non-Muslim society can easily make the prayers difficult. It's wrong for a single Muslim to inconvenience or burden lots of non-Muslims for a prayer that could be performed at a slightly different time.

One, who filmed the man on his mobile phone, said: “He was clearly praying and chanting in Arabic. We thought it was a wind-up at first, like Jeremy Beadle.”

Source: The Sun

The Sun isn't the most reliable source of accurate news, but it appears that this story is genuine and that the bus driver wasn't playing a joke on anyone. I think that I'd have been as astonished and annoyed as the passengers were. It isn't just that the driver stopped to pray, but that he felt it necessary for force everyone off the bus first. If he felt comfortable doing it in the middle of the job and on the bus, why would he have suddenly been uncomfortable by the presence of non-Muslims still on the bus?

“Eventually everyone started complaining. One woman said, ‘What the hell are you doing? I’m going to be late for work’.” After a few minutes the driver calmly got up, opened the doors and asked everyone back on board.

But they saw a rucksack lying on the floor of the red single-decker and feared he might be a fanatic. So they all refused. The passenger added: “One chap said, ‘I’m not getting on there now’.

Some of the passengers complained to the bus company and at first they apparently didn't believe what happened. I don't blame them, but fortunately they started to take it seriously once the story started spreading and are investigating the matter. I hope that they come to reasonable resolution to this because if they don't, they will have a lot of unhappy and distrustful customers.

If I employed Muslims, I'd make an effort to ensure that they would have the time and space necessary to pray. It would be ridiculous not to make things easier for them, but at the same time they would have to understand that the needs of the job might not always be convenient for their prayer schedule. Sometimes, they would have to deal with inconvenience for their prayer time in order to not inconvenience customers or clients.

April 2, 2008 at 12:36 pm
(1) Curiosis says:

I would suggest that the driver has a right to pray, and the bus company has a right to fire him for not doing his job.

We could apply this reasoning to all the other exemptions that people are demanding in the their jobs.

April 2, 2008 at 1:25 pm
(2) ChuckA says:

Somehow…it’s just me, of course…I can hear Donald Trump (very loudly) saying to that Muslim…
[Everybody, join in?...]
And quite possibly adding…

April 2, 2008 at 8:14 pm
(3) Steven Jones says:

Regarding the scenario about a bus driver refusing to let a woman off at an abortion clinic…
A similar situation happened here in Australia with taxis during the Superleague fiasco. Superleague was Rupert Murdoch’s rival Rugby League contest (not unlike the XFL situation in the U.S., and about as successful.)
Taxi drivers refused to take people to Fox Studios during this as they were opposed to the situation Murdoch had created with Superleague.

April 4, 2008 at 5:32 pm
(4) Bob says:

The extremism of this driver reminds me of an incident in New Zealand which showed unreasonableness by another Muslim. This man bought what he thought was a vegetable pizza. However it had pieces of bacon on it. The man complained bitterly that he was now going to hell for eating pork and wanted
to sue the shop for a lot of money. However a more reasonable Muslim spokesman said he hadn’t sinned if eating the bacon was inadvertent.

I must say the small Muslim population here is peaceful and causes no trouble. When a spokesman was asked about his attitude to violent Muslim extremism he said his people came to New Zealand to get away from it.

I suspect that most Muslims are like everybody else. They just like a quiet life where they can look after their families.

April 4, 2008 at 8:49 pm
(5) John Hanks says:

At least he didn’t pray for the passenger’s souls.

August 15, 2008 at 7:30 am
(6) Craig says:

Actually that story was completely made up,t hats The Sun for you. Shame they don’t make up stories about Christians as well to balance it out.

September 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm
(7) John says:

This story was utter tosh, and the Sun issued an apology, posted here:


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