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Airport adds foot basins for Muslim cabbies
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 04/28/2007 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
The Kansas City International Airport has added several foot-washing basins in restrooms to accommodate a growing number of Muslim taxicab drivers who requested the facilities to prepare for daily Islamic prayer, WND has learned.
The move concerns airport police who worry about Middle Eastern men loitering inside the building. After 9/11, the airport beefed up its police force to help prevent terrorist attacks.
“Why are we constructing places of worship for them inside our airports?” said an airport official who requested anonymity. “Why are we catering to their rituals? We don’t do it for any other religion.”
Other major airports also are dealing with increased demands from Muslim cabdrivers.
For instance, cabbies at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport recently caused a stir when they refused to carry passengers possessing alcoholic beverages or accompanied by seeing-eye dogs. Alcohol is forbidden in Islam, and dogs are considered unclean.
There are approximately 250 taxicab drivers operating at KCI Airport in Missouri, one of the largest airports in the U.S., linking some 10 million passengers between mid-America and other U.S. cities. Approximately 70 percent of the drivers are of Middle Eastern heritage and practice the Islamic faith, sources say.
KCI Airport Police are responsible for the cab drivers, including the holding areas of the building. The KCI Aviation Department, which oversees the police, recently expanded the taxicab facility restroom area to include the construction of four individual foot-washing benches.
The cost of the project is not immediately known. A spokeswoman for the engineering department said she could not break out the figures.
KCI Airport Police Capt. Jim Harmon declined comment, explaining, “This is a touchy subject.”
He referred questions to the KCI Aviation Department.
In a cleansing ritual known as ablution, Muslims are required to wash their feet before praying to Allah five times a day. They often complain that public restroom sinks do not accommodate their needs. Floor-level basins make it easier for them to perform their foot-washing ritual.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has pressed government agencies and businesses to install the foot basins in restrooms.
The controversial Muslim lobby group advises employers to allow Muslim workers time to perform both the washing ritual and prayer, which “is usually about 15 minutes,” according to a pamphlet CAIR publishes called, “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices.”
The Islamic purification ritual, known in Arabic as “wudu,” involves a 10-step process, which includes:
1. Praising Allah while washing both hands up to the wrist three times, making sure that the water reaches between fingers and under rings.
2. Rinsing out the mouth thoroughly three times, using the right hand (the one not used for cleaning private parts) to bring the water to the mouth.
3. Snorting water into the nostrils from the right hand, three times, to cleanse them of demons that Muslims believe reside there, clearing the passages of any mucous using the left hand.
4. Washing off the tip of the nose with the left hand.
5. Washing the entire face three times from right ear to left ear.
6. Continuing to wash from forehead to throat.
7. Washing the right arm and then the left arm, three times, from the wrist up to the elbow, removing watches.
8. Moving wetted palms over the head from the top of the forehead to the back of the head.
9. Passing the wetted tips of the fingers into the grooves and holes of both ears, and also passing the wetted thumbs behind the ears and ear lobes.
10. Finally, washing both feet to the ankles starting with the right foot, including between the toes, then reciting: “Ash-hadu an la ilaha illal lahu wa ashhadu anna Muammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluh” – meaning there is no god but Allah and he has no partners, and Muhammad is his servant and messenger.
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