Hundreds of New York City cab drivers were issued tickets by the NYPD on Friday when they parked illegally while they were inside a mosque praying during Ramadan, which is observed from June 17 through July 17, the NY Post reported.
At least one officer handed out nearly 100 tickets on the streets surrounding the Islamic Cultural Center on Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side, said cabby Mohammad Zaman.
Zaman, who has been attending services at the mosque for nine years, reportedly received a $115 ticket for double parking.
“This is a special prayer time, a time for religion. We double-park here every Friday and they [allow it], but today they gave us all tickets, almost 100 cabs.
This has never happened before. I can’t help but to think they are being prejudiced. They don’t understand. We have to be here.”
Driver MD Shomuz, who has been going to the mosque for six years, agreed, saying, “No one has been given tickets before, but today everyone got one.”
A volunteer at the mosque said cops used to cut cabbies a break during Ramadan.
But this year, “maybe three or four times [this month] I’ve seen them go down the line giving tickets to cabs, and [they’re] getting strict again,” the volunteer said.
An NYPD spokesman said that while individual precincts may make accommodations in extenuating circumstances, such as the Ramadan observation, double parking is never authorized, citing, for example, the need for emergency vehicles to navigate the roads.
For years, NYC Muslim cab drivers shut down these streets and police have done nothing. Some speculate the NYPD is starting to ticket now as a counter terror measure, since the high threat of Islamic terrorism in New York City and Ramadan has been particularly violent.