In a Septermber 16 story the Indianapolis Star reported that authorities in Indianapolis plan to install foot washing facilities for Muslim taxi drivers at the city’s new airport. The Star’s story came with the customary atmospherics intended to induce submission by the taxpayers:
Three times a day during their shifts at the Indianapolis International Airport, more than 100 Muslim cab drivers wash their feet.
In the parking lot where they wait to be dispatched, some fill plastic bottles with water and pour it over the right foot, then the left. Others clean their feet in the restroom sink.
The practice is the last step in a ritual called ablution — “wudu” in Arabic — which involves washing several parts of the body to cleanse before Muslims’ five daily prayers.
And by November 2008, when the new $1.07 billion airport terminal is scheduled to be complete, the restroom near the parking lot where taxi drivers stay between runs will include floor-level sinks that will make their daily ritual easier.
In the event that this might not be enough, the story came with a sidebar on wudu courtesy of the imam holding down the fort at the Nur-Allah Islamic Center of Indianapolis. Now, however, the Star reports:
Airport officials, facing complaints from the public and criticism from a local Baptist minister, say plans to accommodate the prayer needs of Muslim taxi drivers in a new terminal’s design are a long way from being “set in stone.”
Keep those calls and letters coming.
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