Muslim Taxi Driver Fined For Refusing To Let Woman Sit In Front Seat

| by Kathryn Schroeder
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A Muslim taxi driver in New York City, New York, has been fined for not allowing a woman to sit in the front seat with him.

Tamsir Drammeh, 64, will have to pay a $350 fine for discrimination, The New York Post reports.

Drammeh argued in court that he refused to let the woman sit up front with him because his religion forbids him to be that close to a female stranger.

The judge rejected his religion-based argument.

“There’s no such rule in Islam,” said the manager at Drammeh’s garage, J and I Maintenance Corp, who refused to give his name. “There’s no such thing.”

“Maybe if she was drunk and wearing a skirt hiked up to here,” a driver at the garage told the New York Post, as he pointed to the tops of his thighs. “He wouldn’t have her in the front, but only if she is alone.”

The woman was traveling with her family of four from Penn Station when they all entered Drammeh’s cab together. The woman’s husband and children got into the back of the cab and she went to the front passenger door. Drammeh refused to unlock it to let her inside.

He did tell the woman that her husband could sit up front, but not her.

The family took a photo of Drammeh’s medallion number and left the cab. The woman later filed a sexual discrimination complaint against Drammeh, who lost the case twice—once at a city hearing and again on appeal.

The hearing’s judge allegedly told Drammeh he had to keep his religion to himself when serving the public.

He said the woman was belligerent and cursed at him, and that he reluctantly did invite her to sit in the front seat.

“That his religion did not allow him to sit next to a woman is not an acceptable defense in an occupation that is operated to serve the public,” the hearing judge wrote. “Of significance, respondent made it clear that the husband would be welcome in the front seat, while the wife/complainant would not be.”

Drammeh was fined and suspended for one day. His license is still valid.

In August, another cab driver was fined in New York for discrimination, the New York Daily News reported.

Cab driver Baqir Jordan was fined $250 by the Taxi and Limousine Commission for reportedly refusing service to a black woman and her children, opting instead to take two white women as his passengers.

The racial discrimination case was sent to the Commission on Human Rights, too, and it awarded the woman be paid $10,000 from Jordan. He was also ordered to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $15,000, and receive anti-discrimination training.

Jordan argued that he did not discriminate against the woman and her children, but that the white women jumped in his cab ahead of them and so he took their fare instead because he did not know who got to his cab first.

He also argued that the woman was the one being racist.

"She's the one being racist,” Jordan said at his hearing. “She called me a lowlife cabbie and those women white b-----s … She was using inappropriate language. I just drove off. I didn't want anything to do with this. She kicked my car."

Jordan said he would appeal the Human Rights Commission decision.

Sources: New York Post, New York Daily News / Photo Source: Mic/Flickr