Do you get the feeling sometimes that we really are living in the end times? A dozen cartoons (admittedly amateurish and not very clever) leading to a worldwide series of protests-cum-riots in which people have been killed? Yup, better start looking for land in northern Canada. We asked the cabbies what they think of the whole mess. (Incidentally, there will be no self-aggrandizing resignations in relation to this article.)
Where I hailed him: Chelsea
Where he hails from: Bhutan
Years as a cabbie: 6 months
Previous profession: Teacher
Don’t people know they shouldn’t fight in the name of religion? That should be the first tenet of any religion. No violence. I do not believe in violence. I don’t see how a religious person could believe in violence.
Where I hailed him: Midtown East
Where he hails from: Pakistan
Years as a cabbie: 12
Previous profession: Always a driver
To mock someone else’s religion is a very serious thing, no? The protests — there have been very many of them. And really, why not protest? But it is also a serious thing to be setting fire to buildings. This is not right. Everyone ought to have a little more respect for each other. Especially when you are talking about religion. This situation is tragic. Absolutely, it’s something that’s very upsetting.
Where I hailed him: Gramercy Park
Where he hails from: Wouldn’t say
Years as a cabbie: Wouldn’t say
Previous profession: Wouldn’t say
No. I have no opinion. I will not discuss it. Why should I trust you? This is a very serious thing. You do not look serious. The L Magazine? I have never heard of this magazine. This cannot be a serious magazine. No, I will not discuss it with you.
Where I hailed him: Midtown East
Where he hails from: Egypt
Years as a cabbie: 20
Previous profession: Waiter
I am ashamed of my people. Ashamed. That is all I have to say. I think to myself: Why the horrible violence? There is another way to go about things. No, I did not see the cartoons. I am sure I would be offended, but I could never hurt someone over a circumstance like that.
Where I hailed him: Union Square
Where he hails from: Ghana
Years as a cabbie: 5
Previous profession: Trader
My personal view is that whoever printed those things was not wise. Notice how I say “wise.” I choose that word very carefully. Not wise at all. How many Muslims are there in the world? One billion? You know that you are going to upset some of them. Yes, you have that freedom, in a free society you have that freedom and I think they should be able to print whatever they want, but you have to be wise in this day and age. Look at Salman Rushdie — how many years did they take away from him? Didn’t they learn anything from that? You have to use wisdom. They have every right in a free society to print it, but you have to be wise. People are suffering now because they printed that. I’m not a Muslim. I don’t give a hoot about that, but you have to be wise.
Where I hailed him: Lower East Side
Where he hails from: Haiti
Years as a cabbie: 3
Previous profession: Delivery man
It’s a free country, right? You can say whatever you want. But that doesn’t mean you should say whatever you want, you know. I mean, I can say whatever I want to, but say I am talking to some guy much bigger than me — I’m not going to be insulting him. Just not smart, you know. Of course the people are going to get upset. I don’t know what they thought they would do. Burning embassies? That is too much though. The protests are not so big a thing, but tearing down the buildings and burning places — the violence like that is no good.