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Wisconsin manufacturer stands by policy on Muslim prayer breaks

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By GREG MOORE

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An American-Islamic civil liberties group is asking a Wisconsin manufacturer to back away from a policy that doesn’t allow an extra break for prayer for Muslim employees.

Oh here we go, the company will be labeled racist now. We MUST be more "tolerant" and sensitive to their religious needs. It's nonsense.

These employees can worship & pray all they want after work. Could someone explain to these people that running the business supercedes their duty to their faith.

The workers, all of whom are of Somali descent, who joined the company last summer through an employment services contractor in Green Bay.

They should hop on that plane and pound sand all the way back to Mogadishu if they don't like it. This incident further illustrates how islam is incompatible in western society.

8 ( +20 / -12 )

Were it the case that the law is clear on this subject. Christianists are trying right now to carve out religious exceptions to laws.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

Next time, the American company should hire tolerant and flexible Buddhists if it insists on paying Third World wages in order to earn First World profits.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

“It seems like a crackdown on Muslims wherever they are,” he said.

Yeah, because we give them an inch and they take a yard. Pretty soon they'll be demanding a paid holiday for Ramadan. And other employees will have to fill those vacancies in the workplaces so that these muslims can "fast" and "pray."

Like I said, its nonsense.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Were it the case that the law is clear on this subject. Christianists are trying right now to carve out religious exceptions to laws.

Let me paraphrase: 'I have no argument so I'll deflect by whining about some unrelated issue regarding Christians.'

6 ( +13 / -7 )

I'm sure Allah" s robes are gonna go into a knot about it so just pray silently at tha time & think of what the chritstians are being subjected to in Africa as well as the Middle East on a daily basis. Learn to adapt to the world around you.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

@IIIyas. Exactly. There is absolutely NO argument. After the US gov. allowed these somalis to stay in the US, they should've been satisfied and content.

If they don't like the terms/conditions of their employment (which I'm sure meet state / federal standards) they can apply for another job. If they they don't like living in the United States of America, then then can leave.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Oh, there is an argument: people need to comply with neutral laws, regardless of what impact those laws have of religious observance or belief.

Here, some Sudanese are griping about complying with (what appears to be) a neutral labor regulation because that labor regulation "infringes" on the free exercise of their religion, which, as we all know, requires them to pray five times a day and prescribed hours. This should be a clear cut case.

But it ain't. Because of the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," or RFRA. which stated

“Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability." Meaning: I don't need to follow neutral laws if my religious belief says I don't need to.

I'll give you three guesses who lobbied and got that bill past.

Which was mostly struck down by the Supreme Court. Which was the right rulling.

But, yeah, the Christianists have not given up. They constantly challenge neutral laws, claiming a religious carve out.

They are the problem. They are the ones who laid the framework, and continue to whine for special consideration. Not Muslims. Not Buddhists. Not Jews.

Christian right wingers.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Putting ALL of the religious BS aside, why can't they have an extra 10-minute break if it contributes to productivity and retention of experienced workers. Is it 2016 yet?

What we have here is a failure to communicate and a typically pointy-headed management. The America-Islamic council is just trying to stir up trouble and should butt out.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Its our [Christians] country .

No, it is not.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

Other non left wing articles state that these individuals were taking praying breaks of up to 25 to 30 minutes. Sorry, no can do in a private business trying to keep people employed. Go to work to work.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Ariens says it has had longstanding religious accommodations for Muslim workers, including a prayer room.

I run my own company. My religious accommodation goes like this:

You can believe whatever you want.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

why do the airports' "prayer rooms" are always designated for MUSLIM prayers? just trying to imagine what would happen if it was the other way around.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

just trying to imagine what would happen if it was the other way around.

Thank you Thunderbird. If that happened the American-Islamic civil liberty groups and CAIR would accuse everyone of being "intolerant" or racists or bigots. Its complete nonsense.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Is the company granted exemptions from ACA regulations due to their corporate religious beliefs?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think the bigger problem at hand is that the company only allows two 10 minute breaks during the entire work shift, how is this even legal in a "first world" country? If they had longer or more frequent break times, not only would the Muslim prayer thing not be an issue, it would likely increase productivity as a whole.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Not sure why this is even an issue. If they already have two breaks, can`t they just pray during those?

Or if the problem is that there is some specific time of the day at which they are supposed to pray, then couldn`t their breaks just be scheduled for that time?

Seems there is no need to give them preferential treatment (ie a third break, which I guess is the issue because it creates an obvious lack of fairness to non-Muslim workers who don`t get extra breaks). On the face of it this looks liek an easy to resolve situation, unless there is some additional information to explain otherwise.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Muslims need to pray five times a day. I'm sure orthodox Jews and Christians have very strict rules they need to follow as well. Muslim bashing may be trendy these days, but that doesn't make it right.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

If they already have two breaks, can`t they just pray during those?

Exactly. Allah will "forgive" them if they're confined to their employment on the company's time, which the company is paying them for.

Allah and islam preach of "peace", "compassion" and "love." I'm sure Mecca and Medina won't mind if these employees turn their backs on the holly sites a couple times per day.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It doesn't look like they'd need three unless they're working 12-hour shifts: Dawn, noon, afternoon, evening, night.

What happens to Muslim conbini clerks? Do they just shut down the store three times a shift 10 minutes per break? Would 7-11 really go for that?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Pillars_of_Islam#Salat:_Prayer

Salat (ṣalāh) is the Islamic prayer. Salat consists of five daily prayers according to the Sunna; the names are according to the prayer times: Fajr (dawn), Dhuhr (noon), ʿAṣr (afternoon), Maghrib (evening), and ʿIshāʾ (night). The Fajr prayer is performed before sunrise, Dhuhr is performed in the midday after the sun has surpassed its highest point, Asr is the evening prayer before sunset, Maghrib is the evening prayer after sunset and Isha is the night prayer. ... Muslims must wash before prayer; this washing is called wudu ("purification"). ...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

prayer breaks, smoking breaks whats the differance, if they want to do this then thats fine, they should also reduce there wages to compensate for the lost time also. Its a known fact that non smokers are more productive than smokers and prayer breaks would be no different. Companies are in the business of making money, recreation time for prayers / smoking wages should be deducted accordingly

5 ( +7 / -2 )

They are paid to work, not to pray. Some individuals have problems understanding the basics.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Wc626: Could someone explain to these people that running the business supercedes their duty to their faith.

Not according to some GOP presidential candidates. Remember Kim Davis?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I worked with Muslims, granted they didn't pray 6 times a day, but on they were given an extended lunch-time to go to mosque, same salary but they worked an extra hour to make . up.

No problems.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Freedom of religion doesn't always mean one can do what the heck they want on the property of a privately owned business. Hate to break it to them but there is a contract with their signature for a reason. Freedom of religion states a person can believe whatever they want, they can practice their beliefs on site "within reason" of the company policy. A Christian employee is not allowed to blast a Christian radio station at work because freedom of religion does not cover that. They can listen to it as long as it is not intruding on another employees personal space.

These people are demanding an extra break outside of the natural break schedule. My company does not allow smoke breaks outside of regularly scheduled break times. If it is your naturally scheduled break time you can smoke, pray, or dance naked in the street (ofc you'll be dealing with the law if you do that). But you don't get "extra" breaks unless you're working 12 hours. Most of the companies I've worked for at 8-10hr shifts always have two 15min breaks, and 30min (8hr) to 1hr (8/10hr). People can not work over 6hrs before federal law states that person is required to take a break. If someone's religious beliefs state they should pray at 1pm every day, but they start their shift at 8am, then instead of taking their break at 10am, they should hold out until 1pm and take their break for their prayer.

If these guys want their prayer times, they have to adjust their own breaks to not conflict with federal law nor company policy or they can be legally fired for not doing what the contract they signed regarding scheduled break times. As for demanding to be paid for their own personal religious holidays? That is not a law. They can take the day off citing religious regions, but can not be expected to be paid for it unless they schedule their paid time off for that day. It is pretty much up to company discretion as to whether or not they pay their employees for certain holidays. I know where I work people don't get paid for New Years, or Christmas unless they're actually scheduled to work those days but the company is going to be closed for the holiday, or if they're going to be open they might pay time and a half.

One oil company I worked for actually gave us Good Friday (paid) off even though it wasn't a nationally recognized holiday because the owner of the company decided to make it a company holiday due to their own personal beliefs.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Not according to some GOP presidential candidates. Remember Kim Davis?

@Super Lib. You're very clever. (pat on the back) But no more, no less. These employees should quit complaining. Look at Kim Davis, she even went to jail for her stunt. She didn't complain. I have more respect for people like her.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

They don't really need to pray during their work shift: they can do it before or after. Do muslim pilots leave the plane to fly itself if prayer time happens to be during mid flight? No. These people are just trying to avoid work and should get on with their jobs or leave.

Besides, what if my made-up religion (which is just as valid as yours) requires me to pray for 20 minutes every hour? Are you going to accommodate me, or are you a racist?

Moderator: Please repost without the expression "made-up," which is inflammatory.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Okay, got it.

I'm always on the look out for ways to sneak away from work and to avoid working the full eight hours.

Be a smoker, get smoking breaks

Be a Muslim, get prayer breaks at the company and get Ramadan off.

Be Jewish, also, and get Yom Kippur off.

Christmas is an automatic holiday for most companies so I don't need to fake Christianity for that.

Fake pregnancy and get longer toilet breaks and don't have to stand or sit for long periods of time.

Fake diabetes and may need to take breaks at certain times for my insulin injection.

...I think I'm about to 2.5 hrs of an average 8 hr work day.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

But, yeah, the Christianists have not given up. They constantly challenge neutral laws, claiming a religious carve out.

No, it's the other way around. It's just that Christians are sick and tired of the PC liberals walking around telling them they have to capitulate to Muslims.

They are the problem. They are the ones who laid the framework, and continue to whine for special consideration. Not Muslims. Not Buddhists. Not Jews.

No, the Muslims are the ones that call for special treatment.

Christian right wingers.

Compared to the radical Islamists that are walking around, a very small minority.

No, it is not.

Yes, it is. The backbone of the US laws and rules are based on Christian-Judea laws, NOT Muslim.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Don't like the company policy, then find some place else to work. They are not in business to placate individual religious needs.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"CAIR is asking the company to revert to its previous policy until a resolution can be reached."

Sounds reasonable, so long as there is a guarantee that a conclusion WILL be reached, and that means the Muslims have to be willing to concede something. Perhaps they can tap on an extra hour's work (or 30 minutes or so), or give up one of the other breaks.

I'm sure something can be done while taking into account all angles.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If a company pays you an hourly wage and you are hired to work a forty hour work week then want to take let's say four prayer times per work shift, you should have to work longer to cover the lost work time due to your prayer schedules or get paid less. If I was a company owner and had to employ people who have strict religious ethics that will interfere with the job they are to be hired for then don't hire them. If they complain that they cannot be discriminated upon due to their religious beliefs then what is the USA going to do with all foreign workers coming to the USA to work and have to accommodate their cultural policies and then the company cannot function normally. Please keep your politics and religion at home and don't take it to the workplace. I have another idea that I am going to create my own religion that says that since I have European roots I can take a 5-6 week summer vacation and get paid for it even though I don't come to work and the company has to hire more people to cover my absence. When is the human race going to understand that there is no god and god's creation is simply a means to control people's behavior which was needed in the past before a legal system was created and now some religions carry it on to excess.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Bartholomew Harte: I'm sure Allah" s robes are gonna go into a knot about it

Wc626: Allah will "forgive" them if they're confined to their employment on the company's time...Allah and islam preach of "peace", "compassion" and "love." I'm sure Mecca and Medina won't mind if these employees turn their backs on the holly sites a couple times per day.

Spoken like people with an unclear understanding of how religion works, and why it's important to millions and millions of people. Religious rules can't be negotiated or appealed the way the rules in your family or company can. If that sounds ridiculous to you, that's fine, but remember that your right to disagree or disbelieve is equal to other people's rights to agree and believe.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Like I said in my Company they Muslims worked unpaid overtime in exchange to go go to mosque on Fridays.

Wish they would ask Smokers to do something similar some guys take a 10-15 min break nearly every hour. Adds up at the end of the day, ditto for some coffee drinker who sit in the restrooms.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Religious rules can't be negotiated or appealed the way the rules in your family or company can."

When religious rules can't be negotiated in the face of secular laws, secular law should take precedence in a civilised society. That is the point. If a compromise can be reached, great, but the guiding principle should always be secular law is far more important than the beliefs of the religious.

I wish people would stop either stating or implying that religious beliefs are more deserving of respect than any other set of beliefs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Jimizo - that's a well thought-out point. However, if you're referring to me about "people...implying that religious beliefs are more deserving of respect than other sets of beliefs," then you're corrupting my words. Nowhere in my comment did I mention that one was more worthy of respect than the other. My point was that religious beliefs are not to be discounted or dismissed as irrelevant just because other people don't share them.

Regarding your point about when two the two forces are in conflict, I think it's important to note that while religious laws cannot be negotiated, secular ones often can, even though its sometimes inconvenient to do so (like It"S ME's nice example above). You mentioned about what you think should happen in a civilized society - my personal take on the matter is that the mark of a civilized society is people being courteous to the differences of others, and going out of their way to be accommodating. As you mentioned, it's not always possible to do so - but I think that in many, many cases it is, as long as people are willing to take the time and energy to understand what each other need.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Believing in a religion doesn't give you any special rights or responsibilities under the law, and it's not negotiable. Your belief in your god does not give you the ability to change how a business operates or much of anything else for that matter. We either choose to be a nation of laws or we choose to make people laws unto themselves.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The moment I saw "An American-Islamic civil liberties group" I just knew it was CAIR. Why does the press continue to mislabel this Hamas-affiliated Muslim Brotherhood front organization as a some sort of civil rights group? They are an islamist activist organization and have been shown to aid terrorist organizations. Why is that never mentioned?

As for the muslim prayer breaks, that is another step down to submission. Take it, and the next demand will follow inevitably.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Too bad all the people who seem to know how to solve the world's problems are busy posting on JT !

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

it is the United States and even though their constitution and bill of rights guarantee that it is a secular nation with no one religion being held in any higher regard than any other many of the people seem to have the illusion it is a "Christian nation"....Thomas Jefferson for one was disgusted by all churches.

from the posts here you would think it was an American site with all the vitriol against Muslims! it is a shame Buddhism has not taken hold in America.
-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is simple, work out the prayer-times, compensation, etc in the employment contract and get employer and employs to agree to the terms.

Bit harsher in a factory. Both sides can be happy Muslims can pray and still produce a 40hr workweek.

Funerals might be trickier due to the short notice.

Just like any other employment terms negotiations,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I love how whenever a Japanese company is in the news for rigid inflexibility, this forum is always like, "You guys need to be more like the US, where free-thinkers always come to creative solutions so everyone can work together and prosper." And then the moment we take white westerners out as the group not being accommodated and replace them with Muslims, suddenly our tune is, "NO! You must conform! The nail that stands up gets hammered down! If you can't handle not being one iota different from us, you shouldn't have come to our country and been different from us!"

Maybe "love" is not the right word there.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"My point was that religious beliefs are not to be discounted or dismissed as irrelevant just because other people don't share them."

Religious beliefs are clearly relevant to the religious. My point is that religious beliefs are irrelevant to secular law. That goes for all religious faiths.

You are still priveledging religious beliefs in the statement "while religious laws cannot be negotiated, secular ones often can, even though its sometimes inconvenient to do so". I'm a secularist and I firmly believe in keeping religion out of the law of the land. If I were to start a company and state that as a secularist I will not change my working practices to accommodate religious beliefs as it is my deeply held belief that religion has no place in the workplace, you would no doubt believe I should compromise and negotiate. The religious on the other hand according to you, have beliefs which are inviolable and non-negotiable. Why should I as a secularist compromise my beliefs?

Your argument rests on privileging religious belief ( non-negotiable ) over non-religious belief ( negotiable ). I hope you can be the first to tell me why this should be the case.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Ariens Co, however, said Tuesday that it can handle the matter internally and that it’s not interested in negotiating through the Council for America-Islamic Relations."

I can understand that.

What does Trump have to say about this?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Many people who suffer from the herd mentality are the same ones who would stand by the seashore with open arms to welcome people that everybody knows will clash with everyone else. They are also the same ones who would fail to see that this is how it starts. These people have zero respect for the culture into which they are trying to migrate.

The USA is a country that respects freedom of religion; it's also a capitalistic country. Everyone knows this. Why should any company be required by law to allow their employees to perform religious practices on the clock? After all, the individual is free to pick and choose any religion he or she wishes without any hinderence or discrimination from anyone. In essence, it's an individual decision. Whence, then, comes the audacity to involve another individual, whether corporate or not, in one's own individual and private affairs?

But I already know many of cattle will say these people who have made a personal choice to become Muslim and who have protection to practice it freely under the law, have the right to pray during work hours.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@JeffLee,

Next time, the American company should hire tolerant and flexible Buddhists if it insists on paying Third World wages in order to earn First World profits.

A couple of points... 1.) "tolerant and flexible Buddhists"? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1Nbbtz_mUc

2.) So Ariens' plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA is paying third-world wages, despite there being federal and state laws mandating minimum wages? In Wisconsin the absolute minimum wage for factory workers is $7.25/hr (¥847) and there isn't a factory I'm aware of that pays absolute minimum wage for a skilled position. I call "BS".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jimizo

"...religious beliefs are irrelevant to secular law. That goes for all religious faiths."

This is really the point. It is not that religion is irrelevant. Its that religious belief only slightly bears on the drafting and enforcement of (religiously neutral) laws. Religiously neutral laws are those that are not about religious practice, but something else. Labor laws, for example.

That is what it means to live in a country, like the United States, where "[there shall be] no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Some here say that some sort of flex time arrangement be worked out for the Somali men. While that may work in certain industries, is cannot in a factory such as we have here. There is simply no legal reason why the factory owner needs lose money to accommodate those who demand special treatment because of their religious sensibilities.

But this ain't only about legal issues. This is about what kind of society we want the US to be. I stand with you and others who believe America should remain a nation where the law of the land is applied fairly and equally to all, regardless of their religious beliefs.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I love how whenever a Japanese company is in the news for rigid inflexibility, this forum is always like, "You guys need to be more like the US, where free-thinkers always come to creative solutions so everyone can work together and prosper." And then the moment we take white westerners out as the group not being accommodated and replace them with Muslims, suddenly our tune is, "NO! You must conform! The nail that stands up gets hammered down! If you can't handle not being one iota different from us, you shouldn't have come to our country and been different from us!"

Lol! Not the US but as long as its not Japan/Japanese. Don't forget about how Japanese/Japan only does it because they are such racist xenophobes as well. The usual posters sing the same tune everytime without addressing the actual issues or sometimes come up with something completely outrageous when they provide analogies. Everyday on the news, there are a lot of racial tensions going on from police brutality to the more recent issues with Muslims (which wasn't as conspicuous as it was in the 90's from what I remember).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Muslim pilots do not leave the plane to fly itself if prayer time happens to fall during a flight. There is no good reason why these workers cannot wait until their shift finishes before they pray. They are just trying to get out of work.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

DickTaterTotsJan. 20, 2016 - 12:11PM JST

I think the bigger problem at hand is that the company only allows two 10 minute breaks during the entire work shift, how is this even legal in a "first world" country? If they had longer or more frequent break times, not only would the Muslim prayer thing not be an issue, it would likely increase productivity as a whole.'

Two ten minute breaks is legal and very standard practice in most workplaces; some may allow 15 minute breaks depending on the contract their union has negotiated , and you neglected to mention that there are not just two breaks in the entire work shift; there is always also a lunch break of half an hour or more.

When some workers are allowed extra breaks because their religion requires them to pray five times a day, how is that fair to workers who are not Muslim? They don't get any extra breaks and just have to work harder to make up for the ones who do get extra breaks. If Muslims in this particular workplace don't want to follow the same rules as everybody else then they could just quit and find a job where the employer would give them extra breaks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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