The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Wednesday issued a statement calling on Electrolux to make accommodations for about 200 Muslim evening-shift workers. In January the company adopted a policy barring eating on the production floor, CAIR contends.

During Ramadan, which begins this year around Aug. 10, Muslims abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from dawn to sunset, breaking fast immediately when the sun sets, according to a statement from CAIR.

So what?

During previous Ramadans, employees could break fast on the production floor with a snack and then take full breaks when scheduled, but the new policy no longer allows this, according to CAIR.

“Electrolux has made it clear that it intends to punish or even fire Muslim employees who are caught with food on the production floor during Ramadan,” the CAIR statement says.

At least two employees have since filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that investigates claims of workplace discrimination, according to Taneeza Islam, CAIR civil rights director.

Employers are mandated to accommodate religious practices, unless an employer can prove “undue hardship” from those accommodations.

Electrolux did not agree to make an official available for an interview Wednesday, but it released a statement saying it will develop “a different solution that reasonably accommodates its employees’ religious beliefs without jeopardizing their safety or the plant’s operating needs.”

The statement said the plan will be presented to the union representing St. Cloud production employees and finalized this week.

The union was not aware of the company’s proposed solution and, as of Wednesday, it seemed to be a work in progress.

New policy

Electrolux workers Ahmed Said and Abdikani Dirie showed the Times a document that says the new policy was created in response to “customer quality concerns,” but they didn’t get a more clear explanation beyond that.


OT but related, creeping sharia here, there and everywhere:

Mosqueing the workplace

1. Greeley CO and Grand Island, Nebraska: JB Swift meat packing plants. Muslims get special break times. Non-Muslims protested because of the inconvenience caused to them.

2. DELL Computers: Nashville.

In February 2005, thirty-one Muslims working at the Nashville, Tennessee plant of the computer firm Dell walked off the job after they were denied permission to leave their workstations and pray. Dell fired the Muslim workers, but CAIR took up their cause and began to pressure Dell to change its practices in order to accommodate Islamic prayer during the workday. Dell quickly caved. Within a month the corporation had agreed to reinstate the employees who had walked out, give them back pay, and allow them time on the job for Islamic prayer. Dell also agreed to give its managers training in accommodating Muslim demands in the workplace.

3. TARGET: in March 2007 Muslim cashiers at some Target store outlets in Minneapolis began to refuse to ring up pork products, causing delays as they had other cashiers handle the untouchable items or even told customers to ring them up themselves. Target Corporation finally opted for the path of least resistance, offering to allow the Muslim cashiers to wear gloves while operating the cash register, so as to avoid touching any of the offending pork, or to shift the recalcitrant, pork-hating cashiers to other jobs within the store.

4. FIRED for EATING BACON: Lina Morales, who for ten months held a job at Rising Star, a telecoms company in Florida. One fateful day in 2004 she was eating a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich at work, and was summarily fired for violating a company rule against eating pork products on company premises. However, Morales said that she had never agreed to comply by any such rule, and indeed, “When I got hired there, they said we don’t care what religion you are.”

Special accommodation for Muslims:

5. In September 2007, the Indianapolis Airport announced that, as part of a $1.07 billion terminal renovation scheduled to be completed by November 2008, footbaths would be installed in a restroom used by cab drivers — so that the drivers, almost all Muslims, could easily perform the rituals required before Islamic prayers. The floor-level sinks, which cost $400-600 each, would be financed through airport revenue. An airport spokesman, David Dawson, insisted, “These facilities are for everybody’s use.”

<6. In 2007 a public school, the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, announced plans to construct full preparation facilities for Islamic prayer – despite having prohibited a coffee cart from playing Christmas carols on campus the previous year. New York University followed suit in October 2007, as have many other public colleges and universities. Seventeen universities have announced plans to install footbaths, including Boston University, George Washington University and Temple University. And all of this is going on at the instigation of the MSA — a Muslim Brotherhood organization.

7. Ridgeland School District 122 – comprising five schools in Oak Lawn, Illinois – blazed a trail when it banned pork from school cafeterias, so as to avoid offending Muslim students. (The possibility that non-Muslim students might be offended by having to conform their eating habits to Islamic dietary regulations was apparently not considered.) The pork ban even included Jell-O, since gelatin is made from pork products.

8. In San Diego’s Carver Elementary School, when over one hundred Somali Muslim students enrolled after a charter school closed in 2006, school officials scheduled breaks so that Muslim students could pray during school time, and even introduced sex-segregated classes to conform to Islamic sensibilities. Pork, of course, vanished from the school cafeteria, and Arabic classes were added to the curriculum. Investor’s Business Daily editorialized, “In effect, Carver administrators have carved out a school within a school expressly for Muslims, elevating them above Christian and Jewish students. They’ve had 15 minutes of instruction time taken away from them, so Muslims can roll out their prayer mats. It amounts to a special privilege afforded a specific religion, which plainly does not have our best interests at heart.”

Sharia finance:

Barclays, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Dow Jones, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Bank, Lloyd’s, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Standard & Poors have created “Sharia Advisory Boards,” staffed with Islamic clerics and scholars, in order to help them bring their financial practices into line with Islamic norms – so as to attract Muslim investors and help Muslims in the West find ways to avoid breaking Islamic law in their financial transactions.

A journalist who has exhaustively documented Sharia finance initiatives, Alyssa A. Lappen, reported that “among the perils of shari’a finance, according to a January [2008] analysis by Moody’s Investors Service are: A central role in investment decisions for shari’a scholars who are actually Islamic clerics; investors being forced to accept weak positions; short track records of major investors; multiple complex asset types; risky interest rates and new ventures; plus a lack of transparency combined with corporate management and risk control in the hosting Third World countries.”


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