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Home   Ashford   News   Article

Taxi driver given warning by Ashford Borough Council after passenger from Ashford International Station complains about "offensive" Muslim video

05 February 2014
by Suz Elvey

A taxi driver who was accused of playing “offensive” religious videos in his cab while driving has been given a verbal warning by the council.

In December business owner Andrew Devine described how he got into a taxi at Ashford International Station with his wife Janice and within minutes the driver began playing what the passenger believed was a pro-Muslim video.

Mr Devine, 52, of South Ashford, said he and his partner were also locked in the car after asking the driver to stop and were not let out until they handed over a small fare.

The taxi journey started at Ashford International Station

The taxi journey started at Ashford International Station

Mr Devine made a complaint to Ashford Council, the authority responsible for issuing taxi licences, and after an investigation the driver was given a warning.

Ashford council spokesman Sinead Hanna said: “A complaint was received and investigated by the licensing team. The incident has been dealt with by way of a verbal warning. This matter has now been resolved and the complainant has been fully updated with the result.”

However, speaking after the warning was dished out, Mr Devine told the Kentish Express he was not entirely happy with the punishment and his questions had not been fully answered.

 

He said: “The council seems to think a warning is adequate because this is the first time he has done anything wrong. I’m happy they investigated but I’m not completely happy with the council.

“My question has still not been answered - why did he do it? Why did he think it was a suitable thing to play? I still feel angry that he felt he could do that.”

Mr Devine said a council employee who visited him to discuss the matter offered to set up a face-to-face meeting between him and the driver.

He continued: “I originally said no but I think I will because I want to ask him why he did it.”

It is believed the taxi driver was operating independently and was not linked to any of the town’s cab firms.

Last month Mr Devine described how the driver, who the council has not named, started watching the video on a mobile phone in a holder on the dashboard and refused to turn it off when asked.

Mr Devine said at the time: “The video showed a head and shoulders shot of a Muslim bloke wearing a white hat. There were speakers in the back of the car so we could hear what was being said and that was what annoyed me.

“If it had been just in the front for him to hear it wouldn’t have bothered me.

“The Muslim was talking about God, human beings and angels. Then an English voice started questioning him.

“At one point I thought it could have been a pro-Christian video but I think it was pro-Muslim.

“However, I would have found it offensive whatever religion it was preaching, as I’m an atheist. It was someone talking and talking and not shutting up.

“I was angry that I was spoken to the way I was. But the scary thing was the fact we were locked in the car.”

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