It’s currently Ramadan, which is the holiest time of year for Muslims, and a time when they fast from sunrise to sunset. Last Friday, some Muslim cabbies in New York City thought that this holiday meant that they could break the law by double-parking outside a Manhattan mosque as they said prayers inside.
Unfortunately for them, they turned out to be very wrong.
According to Bizpac Review, one police officer placed almost 100 tickets on cabs parked near the Islamic Cultural Center in the Upper West Side neighborhood of the city.
“This is a special prayer time, a time for religion. We double-park here every Friday and they [allow it], but today they gave us all tickets, almost 100 cabs,’’ said cab driver Mohammad Zaman, who has been going to this mosque for nine years.
Zaman, who said he had never received a ticket for parking there before, was given a ticket for $115. Of course, his first reaction was to accuse the NYPD of racism.
“I can’t help but to think they are being prejudiced,” he whined. “They don’t understand. We have to be here.”
Another patron at the mosque said that police used to ignore double-parkers in the area, even though it is illegal. Lately, however, “maybe three or four times [this month], I’ve seen them go down the line giving tickets to cabs, and [they’re] getting strict again,” the volunteer continued.
Other cabbies said they shouldn’t be punished because they have no choice about going to the mosque for Ramadan.
“It is mandatory in our religion to come to the mosque every Friday. It’s our duty,” Mohammad Choudhury said. “Other places, they are OK with double-parking — people do it everywhere here. But now they won’t let us? Most of us only come for one hour.”
“No one has been given tickets before, but today everyone got one,” added driver M.D. Shomuz. “It’s frustrating, but what can I do?”
It’s so typical that Muslims are looking for special treatment from the law in the name of Allah. If they want to go the mosque, they can find regular parking spaces just like everyone else.
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