Is A Religious Bus Ban on My Dog Right?

Judith Woods, London Telegraph, June 22, 2010

On two occasions last week my dog was barred from London buses, not because she’s particularly fierce or big, but on religious grounds. A friend and I had taken her to the park, and as I went across to the grocer, my friend took Daisy, a Manchester terrier, to the bus stop.

As they tried to board the bus, the driver stopped her and told her that there was a Muslim lady on the bus who “might be upset by the dog”. As she attempted to remonstrate, the doors closed and the bus drew away.

When a second bus arrived, she again made to embark, but was stopped again–this time because the driver said he was Muslim. I know that Muslims consider dogs to be unclean, but last time I looked this wasn’t a Muslim country and London Transport was a non-denominational organisation.

I’m a Catholic, but I’m hardly likely to start insisting that no divorced people should be allowed on my bus. I have no intention of causing upset with my dog and I wouldn’t allow her to brush against anyone who was at pains to avoid her. None the less, I instinctively cavil at this creeping intolerance, masquerading as pious devotion, whatever its origins.

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