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Cab Driver Ill Informed For Banning Guide Dog

Editor's Note: The following article is reprinted from the Muslim News, United Kingdom, November 24, 2006:

A senior Muslim scholar has said mini-cab driver Abdul Rasheed Majekodunmi, who refused to allow a guide dog in his car because it would breach Islamic law, was "ill-informed" about Islam.

Last month, Majekodunmi was fined 200 pounds and told to pay 1,200 for costs under the Disability Discrimination Act for refusing to carry out the booking.

He picked up Jane Vernon, a legal officer at the RNIB (Royal National Institute of the Blind), in west London. She later said the incident in October 2005 made her feel like "a second-class citizen."

Chair of the inter faith relations committee of the Muslim Council of Britain Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra said the driver had been ill-informed about Islamic law that says Muslims should wash before praying if they come into contact with dog saliva, which is considered unclean and impure.

Shaykh Mogra told The Muslim News, "Muslim law lays down general laws, but there are circumstances where allowances have to be made."

A Disability Rights Commission spokeswoman said the Muslim Shariah Council confirmed four years ago that assistance dogs can accompany disabled people into restaurants or taxis managed or driven by Muslims.

But she said it would be "dangerously wrong" to suggest discrimination was "the preserve of a particular group" as "misconception and downright ignorance of the law is rife."

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