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August 27, 2007

Reality Check Time

Now here's an interesting little story. A young Muslim woman in Jerusalem has become a taxi driver to make ends meet. The BBC reports on the story with a hopeful tone; hurray for that much vaunted multicultural mosaic and all that jazz.

As Jerusalem's only female Muslim taxi driver, Mrs Bahr, wearing a white headscarf, cuts a distinctive figure in the city's taxi-driving community.

"People always think I'm Jewish at first," says Mrs Bahr, who speaks conversational Hebrew.

"But then I tell them that I'm Muslim and they are even more surprised. They say it's brilliant, it's fantastic."

Yes, yes that's wonderful. Mmhmm. But then it starts to get distinctly fishy.

In her conservative Muslim community, Mrs Bahr says that it is her female Muslim friends that have been her biggest champions.
Excuse me, but:

Conservative Muslim community eh?  Right.  Let's try a little thought experiment, shall we?  Imagine giving this whole taxi thing a go in Saudi Arabia.  Hell, let her try it in Gaza.  Few things better illustrate the difference between truly fundamentalist Muslim societies and open westernized societies like Israel.  I'd like to thank the BBC for allowing me to illustrate the difference.

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