x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 September 2017

Taxi driver says faith, not a seat belt, will save him in crash

A religious taxi driver insists he is protected on the road because he is a believer.

The Grand Mufti of Dubai issued a fatwa on the obligation to follow road rules.
The Grand Mufti of Dubai issued a fatwa on the obligation to follow road rules.

DUBAI // The Dubai taxi driver could see my discomfort as he swerved from lane to lane on the E11 motorway. I asked him nicely to indicate when he changed lanes.

"I can measure the distance," he said. "I saw that there was enough distance. Twelve, 13 years, inshallah, I have had no accident. I am confident in my God."

I had been in the cab for 20 minutes and had counted as many near misses. He pressed on the accelerator so he could get even closer to the vehicle ahead, then he turned towards me.

"These are only temporary systems," he said of the indicator and seat belt. "That's for man. If another man hits me, what can I do? Many accidents happen in front of me. Seat belt or no seat belt, they are dead."

He saw his failure to have crashed as evidence that his faith had protected him. "That's a question of confidence in God. God will save me," he said, one hand barely on the wheel, the other gesturing to make his point. "Every time you [are] confident with God, God will save you."

His voice rose, he pressed harder on the accelerator and I began prayers of my own from the back seat as he made his final point - the real reason for crashes.

"New drivers," he said. "New drivers are making more accidents. And women."

He gave me an accusatory glance. Then he indicated as we passed the next car.

azacharias@thenational.ae