New Yorkers or any city dweller who relies on car services would do well to think twice before taking a ride with a devout Muslim driver, especially if you are gay or a single young female in a skirt above the knees, or visibly Jewish.
Muslim cab drivers refusing rides with service dogs (or any dogs) are a problem across the country.
“Uber Driver Slams Service Dog to Ground After Fight with Owner, Police Say,” DNA Info, January 27, 2016:
MIDTOWN — An Uber driver viciously slammed a passenger’s service dog onto the ground after telling her she couldn’t have the pooch in his car — leaving the animal with a dislocated hip and an injured knee that required surgery, police said.
The 30-year-old Manhattan resident had gotten into the cab with her Silky Terrier in front of 1755 Broadway, near West 56th Street, on Jan. 21 around 7:30 p.m., the NYPD said.
When driver Muhammad Qayyum, 23, saw the pup, he told her, “I will not take your dog in my car,” police said.
After Qayyum, from Queens, refused to drive the woman and her pooch, he got out of the car, went to the right back passenger seat and grabbed the dog’s leash from the woman’s hand, the NYPD said.
Qayyum used the leash to yank the dog out of her lap and threw the animal to the ground, according to a complaint filed with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
The dog suffered a dislocated hip and a knee injury, the DA said. The owner brought her pet to a veterinarian on West 55th Street in Hell’s Kitchen after the incident, police said.
It was not clear why the woman required the service dog.
Qayyum denied slamming the canine to the ground, said an Uber spokeswoman, who noted that all Uber drivers are required to accommodate service animals.
The driver claimed that after the woman refused to show documents proving the terrier was a service animal, she made “racist, religiously disparaging slurs” and punched him in the face several times, the spokeswoman explained.
“Any mistreatment of animals is abhorrent and we do not tolerate violent behavior on the platform,” she said.
“The driver-partner and rider accounts have been suspended while we investigate this incident.”
Qayyum was arrested and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and harming a service animal, the complaint said.
He was released without bail and an order of protection has been issued against him, the DA’s office said.
Neither an attorney for Qayyum nor the woman who owns the dog responded to requests for comment.