Last week, Newsday ran an article in which a New York woman described her guilty conscience after being scared of her "Muslim" cab driver; the woman questioned whether she developed "an involuntary reflex of fear and distrust" even though she considered herself to be "open-minded" and she "loved living in a city where... people's cultural differences made them interesting - not scary."
The introspective essay led me to write the following letter to the editor, which was published by Newsday a few days later:
In her article "Taxi driver and rider, and the prayers of each" [Opinion, May 10], Fran Giuffre wrote that her taxi cab "was driven by a man with a dark bushy beard, wearing a turban." She further expressed embarassment at becoming unsettled "because my cab driver was Muslim."
A vast majority of the males in the United States with beards and turbans are Sikhs, not Muslims. Baptized Sikhs, like Muslims, are required to complete certain daily prayers. The "Arabic" music she thought she heard could have been the language of the Sikh scriptures, which bears resemblance to other South Asian and Middle Eastern tongues.
Wouldn't it be fitting and ironic if, in an essay describing a woman's ignorance, she couldn't even correctly identify the person she was fearful of?
Dawinder S. Sidhu
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