ANOTHER local Muslim cab driver is taking legal action after he says the Metropolitan Taxi Commission is violating his religious rights by not allowing him to wear religious attire on duty as part of a required uniform.
CBSClaiming he was handcuffed, arrested and humiliated for wearing his Muslim clothing at Lambert Airport, a St. Louis cab driver is suing the Metropolitan Taxi Commission, the City of St. Louis and Whelan Security alleging religious discrimination.
Raja Naeem (photo left) claims he was arrested for trespassing last Thursday, after being cited previously for violating the commission’s dress code, which requires drivers to wear black pants and a white shirt. His attorney Drew Baebler says Naeem had been warned about returning the airport, “‘If you wear this again to the airport’ and he’s dropping off passengers, ‘you’ll be considered a trespasser and arrested.’ This time they arrested him and humiliated him by even taking off part of his religious garb (his kufi or hat) and throwing it on the ground.” Baebler says Naeem applied for a religious waiver to the dress code, but was denied, “Who knows how it’s enforced because he’s done everything to comply with their request.” Baebler says that when the commission asked for a reference to confirm that Naeem’s request was legitimate, Naeem put down the ‘Prophet Muhammad,’ “But” he says, “that wasn’t good enough.”
The Commission’s General Counsel tells KMOX other Muslims have been granted exemptions so he’s not sure what happened in Naeem’s case. The suit seeks an injunction and monetary damages.
Naeem told reporters, “I want to practice my religion as well as I want to provide for my family.” He says he believes his first amendment rights are being violated, “I don’t understand how you can justify somebody wearing his religious clothes getting arrested.”
KSDKRaja Naeem says he and other Muslim drivers should be allowed to wear traditional Islamic attire without being in violation of existing codes by the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxi Commission. The rules state that drivers must wear a uniform that includes black slacks and a white shirt.
“They want to enforce codes that are against the constitution and most of the codes they have..about 90 percent are against the constitution,” said Naeem. He has filed a report with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Missouri Commission on human rights. His case is pending.
(Wanna get rid of the raghead cab drivers? Don’t get in their cabs. If you find you have a Muslim cab driver after you are already inside (don’t hesitate to ask if he is a Muslim, he will proudly tell you), pay the fare but don’t leave a tip)