Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Taxi Driver, Kick Your Ass!

From The Guardian:

11 hurt in clashes over ban on female taxi passengers

Rory Carroll
Saturday December 17, 2005
The Guardian

Hundreds of taxi moped operators in the northern Nigerian city of Kano have clashed with Islamic authorities over a ban on women passengers, a new sharia law which they said deprived them of their best customers.

A fleet of riders, known as achaba, drove through the city wielding sticks this week in protests which turned violent, leaving 11 people injured and 24 motorised tricycles vandalised.

"No amount of intimidation and lawlessness will deter us from carrying out this noble duty of stopping women from riding on achaba," said Yahaya Farouk Chedi of the religious police.

(Emphasis added)

Under Sharia law, women are not allowed to drive vehicles. If they want to go someplace, they have to find someone to drive them. A reasonable alternative, you might say, would be to take a taxi.

But in this Nigerian city, the "motorized tricycle" seems to be a common form of taxi. I'm only guessing, they don't have a lot of Checkers cabs there.

("Gee, you can't drive, you can't take a taxi . . . you're a woman under Sharia Law, how do you get from point "A" to point "B"? Answer: Point "A" is the kitchen, or the bedroom. You don't have to go anyplace else. Besides, you're a WOMAN, and if we see you in public we will be overwhelmed with lust and defile ourselves by raping your sinful body. It's not our fault, we can't be expected to control our lust. The only defense we have is to keep you LOCKED UP! Who cares what you want? You're only a woman. Note: this doesn't reflect badly on us. We're men. If you don't like it, we can kick your ass, and the scooter you rode in on.")

Now they can't even use taxis to get around. Continuing with my "I'm only guessing" trend, "I'm only guessing" that the lauded "noble duty of stopping women from riding on achaba" has a lot to do with treating women as second-class citizens . . . or property.

I only know one muslim personally, and he seems as happily hen-pecked as the rest of us. He lives here (in Oregon), he does an honest day's work for an honest day's pay, and he also respects his wife. I don't think he's living under Sharia law. That's the law that the militant muslims would impose on the entire world, one nation at a time.

How many of us could live under Sharia law, where the courts are ruled by religious leaders and there is no real 'rule of law' appeal to their decisions, unless it is supported by their primary religious beliefs?

Let me be completely clear here. I consider the actions of the Nigerian Religious Police to be shameful. More, I consider the entire concept of Religious Police to be completely unacceptable. I'm a nominal Christian, even though religion isn't part of my life-style and I haven't been inside a church for almost a year.

These aren't religious principles we're discussion. They're cultural principals. I think that people who use their religion to justify acting like hooligans (there is no better word in the English language to describe such conduct) are little better than animals. They're using the precepts of their avowed religion to excuse egrigious conduct. I'm searching for a word here, and I'm mulling over 'duplicitous', but it's not strong enough to express my revulsion. How about a more complex phrase, such as "state-supported thugs"? No, that's not strong enough either.

Maybe you can help me out here.

The point may be in comparing this 'thing' with the previous 'thing'.

The people who beat up taxi drivers because women hire them are the same kind of people who drive airplanes into public buildings. They think they know better than we do, about how we should live our lives.

I don't like that. I think we should fight against that sort of 'holier than thou' attitude, and we should use every weapon in our arsenal to fight their drive to impose their rules on us.

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