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Published On: Sat, May 28th, 2016

Wisconsin Muslims working at Ariens suing with CAIR to get extra breaks to pray

The Muslim civil liberties group, CAIR, representing Muslim employees of a Wisconsin manufacturer has filed a religious discrimination complaint against the company for not allowing extra break time for prayer.

The lawnmower and snow blower manufacturer, Ariens Co. fired seven Muslim employees earlier this year for taking unscheduled breaks for prayer time. Another 14 employees resigned over the break policy.

The Brillion-based company moved to enforce an existing rule of two 10-minute breaks per work shift in January.

The company initially allowed the Muslim employees to leave their work stations a third time to accommodate prayers but concluded that the extra breaks disrupted production.

Photo/Nodar Kherkheulidze via wikimedia commons

Photo/Nodar Kherkheulidze via wikimedia commons

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, filed a federal discrimination complaint Tuesday.

Ariens spokeswoman Ann Stilp says the company has 27 Muslim employees who are accommodated with prayer rooms.

Posting on its Facebook page Tuesday, CAIR accused Ariens Co of not providing its employees with “reasonable accommodations” for religious practices, which they are obligated to do by law, provided they do not result in a hardship for the employer.

“Muslim employees seeking accommodations to wear hajibs, to set aside time or space for daily prayer, or to perform ablutions before prayers; or, in meatpacking plants, to abstain from handling pork, often meet with antagonism from employers and co-workers. The results have been decidedly mixed,” an article by Primerus noted.

“Objection to accommodating Muslim employees’ request for time to pray during the work day is often fierce, typified by the view of Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) that it isn’t the responsibility of private companies to bend over backwards to accommodate Islamic workers who want to take special breaks to pray. The Congressman, referring to a pending dispute over Muslims’ prayer time accommodation at a meat packing plant in the Midwest, stated that “[t]he fact is that, if you take a job that requires your attendance on an assembly line from a point certain to a point certain, and if your religious views do not allow you to do that, then don’t take the job.” Tancredo went on to opine that “[t]here is nothing forcing anybody to take the job. No one has put a gun to their head.”

cover of a Quran  photo by crystalina  via wikimedia commons

cover of a Quran photo by crystalina via wikimedia commons

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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  1. albin says:

    It comes from the Iman that pushes. Sharia allows – particularly in the house of war – that one can make up missed prayer times, therefore they could acommodate their employer without their religious freedom limited. All show.

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