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Muslim cab driver refuses guide dog in Letchworth

By The Advertising Stevenage  |  Posted: February 02, 2012

Comments (26)

A BLIND man says he was refused use of a taxi in Letchworth because the Muslim driver would not allow his guide dog in the car.

Stevenage resident Sean Dilley had been at Letchworth Sports and Tennis Club in Muddy Lane with his guide dog Chipp on Sunday evening for a blind tennis demonstration.

Friends had organised for a taxi driver to pick up the 29-year-old after the event and take him back to Letchworth rail station.

But when the driver arrived shortly after 7pm to pick him up, he refused to let Sean and Chipp in the car.

"The driver turned up and said you are more than welcome but I’m not taking your dog," said Sean, who has been blind for 15 years.

"He said it was because he was a Muslim. I was horrified. This sort of thing happens all the time and it’s not acceptable."

The debate between Sean and the driver was caught on camera by a friend.

It has been reported that some strands of Islam teach that dogs should be avoided because the animal's saliva is considered to be impure.

Sean is a freelance broadcaster and parliamentary lobby correspondent for talkSPORT and last year made a film for the BBC’s Daily Politics show highlighting how many businesses and restaurants refused entry to guide dogs.

He called the taxi firm Gary’s Taxis to complain but was told the driver was within his rights.

But Sean believes that the driver was breaking disability discrimination law by refusing to take them and has reported the matter to North Herts Council, which licenses taxis in the district.

"I have a lot of energy and I know the law, and yet I find battling this sort of thing exhausting," he said.

"There must be many elderly or vulnerable people who can’t do that and just put up with it.

"Often it’s difficult to prove what happened though but this time we’ve got video evidence of what happened."

The Advertiser was unable to contact the taxi driver and Gary’s Taxis would only say "It’s a matter between the council and the driver."

Cllr Bernard Lovewell, the council’s portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, said: "We are currently investigating a complaint regarding an alleged incident with a North Herts licensed hackney carriage driver and a customer with a guide dog.

"Until we have concluded the investigation we cannot comment further.

"We would like to reassure residents that council-licensed taxi drivers should not refuse a blind or partially sighted person from getting in to their taxi on the grounds that they wish an assistance dog to accompany them."

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26 comments

  • The Advertising Stevenage  |  August 12 2012, 9:45AM

    I'm all for religeous freedom. However; we don't operate under Islamic law in Britain, so if a Muslim taxi driver doesn't want to abide by British law, then he go and find a job that doesn't offend his religious beliefs. No doubt he'd be offended if a taxi driver refused to take him because he's Muslim. Can't have your cake and eat it too!

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  • The Advertising Stevenage  |  May 20 2012, 12:16PM

    Ahsan - perhaps you need to read the story rather than just jumping to the comments - sort of like reading a book and only jumping to the last page - If you had read it you would have seen that he was getting the taxi to the TRAIN STATION. Also you may want to get your facts right, it is nothing to do with colonialism just peoples rights. It was refreshing to hear he got a whopping 10 points on his licence and a caution "after accepting Mr Hasan’s explanation that he did not understand either the council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, the Equality Act 2010 or the meaning of the term ‘an assistance dog’. So you see poor Mr Hasan doesnt get a choice, if he is that hell bent on not having dogs in his car, his only choice is to find a new career.

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  • The Advertising Stevenage  |  February 22 2012, 8:03PM

    Majority of the comments here show the colonial mentality. Cabbie is not happy to serve somebody, his choice. Catch a train to 21st century, colonialism is over.

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  • The Advertising Stevenage  |  February 09 2012, 4:06PM

    this is england, yes? how dare this taxi driver pick and choose who has the right to a taxi because his beliefs say he cannot allow a guide dog in the cab!!! sort it out, nhc, and quick!!!

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  • The Advertising Stevenage  |  February 07 2012, 8:39AM

    The driver's taxi license should be cancelled immediatly.

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  • The Advertising Stevenage  |  February 07 2012, 4:03AM

    This sort of thing just makes me angry. What is really bothering, our governments allow this kind of thing to go on instead of deporting those who are bent out on Sharia.

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  • The Advertising Stevenage  |  February 06 2012, 7:11PM

    This kind of incident is absolutely tragic and unspeakable and should be dealt with definitively. Islam in particular (with its barbaric notions)and religion in general should be kept out of the public sphere.

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  • The Advertising Stevenage  |  February 04 2012, 11:29PM

    it is not "dogs should be avoided in some" strands of islam, it is in islam, advertiser, please don t turn apologist for its backward beliefs, there have been far too many doing that already

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  • The Advertising Stevenage  |  February 04 2012, 5:25PM

    Reminds me of Saudi, where little school girls were not allowed to die in the blazing school building because they were not wearing burqas/hijab. Time to wke up to the dangers of ISLAM!

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  • The Advertising Stevenage  |  February 04 2012, 5:24PM

    I recall in 2002 when I was being introduced to the parents of my son's schoolmates at an event. They were Muslim, and when I stuck out my left hand to shake the mother, she shied away from me and the father got really, really mad and a scene erupted. I did not know at the time that I could not shake her hand and that the husband was insulted that I approached his "property." What made it so wacky is that the hubby was Asian, but his wife was a Anglo convert...

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