24 September 2007

Stop Making Concessions To Muslims

The Indianapolis International Airport is looking at installing foot-washing sinks for Muslim taxi drivers. They claim that the proposal is for safety and health reasons.

Airport officials said they are considering installing a [foot-washing] sink because of safety and health issues, not religious ones.

More than 100 Muslim taxi drivers currently use a traditional sink at the airport, leaving the floor wet and increasing the possibility of passing germs.
The Indianapolis International Airport is not the only place dealing with this issue. Three schools (New York University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Minneapolis Community and Technical College) have recently discussed installing special facilities for Muslim prayer rituals.

There are some people who are opposing the special sinks, and not surprisingly, some Muslims are saying that the only reason that the sinks are being contested is due to bigotry.

That is the opinion of Shariq Siddiqui. He said, "This is an issue of Islamophobia. This is not about sinks. The only difference between me and my neighbor is that we may follow different faith traditions."

B.S. Shariq. People are ticked-off because a publicly funded entity is considering giving you special facilities for your religious rites. The fact of the matter, Shariq, is that you and your fellow Muslims don't need special sinks installed.

I've got a simple solution to this issue. Muslims who use the existing sinks in bathrooms to wash their feet, and in the process create a fall risk or health hazard, should be fined for creating a public hazard or nuisance. It's that easy, and it isn't discrimination.

Muslim taxi drivers who feel that they must wash their feet before praying can bring a wash basin, towel, and water with them to perform that ritual. The same goes for students at any school. We don't need to spend public funds to add special foot washing sinks in order to accommodate Muslims who, for whatever reason, don't make basic preparations on their own for their religion's prayer rituals.

This isn't an issue of Islamophobia. It's an issue of not wasting public funds to accommodate a single faith when the members of that faith could easily bring dollar store items with them to perform the rite without creating a public nuisance or health hazard. The Muslims need to bring the materials with them to wash their feet, rather than expecting the state to provide special facilities for their religion's rituals.


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