A major controversy is brewing in England over a a fashionable Indian restaurant that barred the seeing eye dog of Alun Elder-Brown, who is legally blind. The owners explained that Muslims consider dogs to be unclean and offensive. This is only the latest such case in England and the United States.
The Kirthon Restaurant in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, told Elder-Brown, 51, to dump the dog or leave. He was there with his girlfriend and her five-year-old daughter — and his service dog Finn. Elder-Brown, 51, may now sue and he has good grounds. As in the United States, these animals are covered in disability protections. Indeed, Elder-Brown showed the owners a card from the Institute of Environmental Health Officers certifying he and his dog were allowed into any premises, but was still told to leave.
A number of these cases have popped up recently. In England, Muslim taxi drivers who refused to carry guide dogs in their cars were disciplined. In the United States, a disabled student left a school after his service dog was allegedly threatened by Muslim students.
These cases occur on the leading edge of pluralism where religious beliefs collide with the lifestyles of non-religious persons. Taxi drivers have been warned in the United States that they cannot refuse to carry people with bottles of alcohol at airports etc.
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