A BLIND man says he was refused use of a taxi in Letchworth because the Muslim driver would not allow his guide dog in the car.
Stevenage resident Sean Dilley had been at Letchworth Sports and Tennis Club in Muddy Lane with his guide dog Chipp on Sunday evening for a blind tennis demonstration.
Friends had organised for a taxi driver to pick up the 29-year-old after the event and take him back to Letchworth rail station.
But when the driver arrived shortly after 7pm to pick him up, he refused to let Sean and Chipp in the car.
“The driver turned up and said you are more than welcome but I’m not taking your dog,” said Sean, who has been blind for 15 years.
“He said it was because he was a Muslim. I was horrified. This sort of thing happens all the time and it’s not acceptable.”
The debate between Sean and the driver was caught on camera by a friend.
It has been reported that some strands of Islam teach that dogs should be avoided because the animal’s saliva is considered to be impure.
Sean is a freelance broadcaster and parliamentary lobby correspondent for talkSPORT and last year made a film for the BBC’s Daily Politics show highlighting how many businesses and restaurants refused entry to guide dogs.
He called the taxi firm Gary’s Taxis to complain but was told the driver was within his rights.
But Sean believes that the driver was breaking disability discrimination law by refusing to take them and has reported the matter to North Herts Council, which licenses taxis in the district.
Below is the video the man’s friend shot. I have enhanced the audio to the best of my ability given what time I had available. A lot of it is still unclear but you can very clearly hear the cabbie explaining that it is islam that prevents him from accepting the guide dog.