Raja Naeem: Muslim Driver Says Taxi Officials Still Harassing Him Over Religious Garb
Then on April 1, Ronnie White, an appellate hearing officer with the MTC, issued a decision regarding one of Naeem's summons, saying that the alleged "uniform violations must be reversed," because there was not a fair process in place for him to make his request:
Taxicab drivers such as Naeem should have been granted the opportunity to request reasonable accommodation from the uniform requirements through certification of religious purpose.... In this case, the record shows that Naeem claimed a religious exemption from the outset; yet he was unable to file for a certification since the MTC did not have a means for him to do so.
Despite both of these decsions, Naeem says the harassment has continued; he even says he was stopped and ticketed this week.
via Naeem and his attorneys speaking to the press.
Klein argues that White's decision was narrow and that the MTC has in fact given Naeem a clear "variance" to uniform code that officials think is a reasonable compromise -- but one that Naeem is still violating. For instance, despite his letter specifying the need for a white shirt, Naeem recently showed up in a tan one, Klein says.
"We've granted him an exemption...but it has to be white and black," Klein says, adding, "We do that so taxi drivers are regularly recognized."
He continues, "I fully support him in his religious beliefs... This is a compromise.... All we are trying to do is give him what he asked for."
To Baebler, though, it's clear that the MTC is retaliating against Naeem for making a fuss.
"This is belittling to him," he says. "And the Missouri constitution says...you have a right to practice your faith."
Here's the full letter from Klein in response to Naeem's request.
Here's Ronnie White's decision.
And here's the formal complaint.