This from the Montreal Muslim News. It’s crucial at this point that tolerance be properly defined. People have a right to their own religious observance but no one should be obliged to embrace accommodate or adjust to it. Should I choose to walk an elephant to celebrate my love of Ganesh, the Hindu Elephant god, this doesn’t mean I have the right to demand the city hire extra people to shovel up after it.
Grace, who has read the Employers Guide to Islamic religious practices linked to below, has this to add…
This guide is an outline to all American employers specific needs of American Muslims in the workplace. Definitions of holidays and festivals, dietary needs clothing obligations and prayer times are all included in the booklet. For example, when a Muslim employee is at prayer, he cannot be obligated to conduct any of his usual duties as an employee. The booklet specifies that his coworkers should not interupt him under any circumstances and should not take offense, (something Muslims seems to wish a monopoly on) to his absense during prayer time. As for participating in professional conduct in a corporate setting, Muslim employees are not encouraged to shake hands or when engaged in conversation are obligated to lower their gaze. In other words, not only must we accomodate all these factors, but we must not dislike the inconvinience. Its not just what they must be allowed to do, its how we must feel about it.
Additionally, there are other booklets outlining Islam’s specific needs to American and Canadian employers. Guides are given to educators, health care providers and correctional institutions, with a forthcoming manual to be given to the law enforcement community.
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/2/2009) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on the U.S. Department of Justice to determine whether a California bank violated a Muslim woman’s civil rights when it denied her service because she was wearing a religiously-mandated head scarf, or hijab.
According to the woman, she was denied service Saturday at a Navy Federal Credit Union in San Diego, Calif., despite telling bank officials that she wears her head scarf for religious reasons.
In a statement, the bank said:
“‘In the interest of Security and Safety for our members and employees – hats, hoods and sunglasses must be removed when entering the branch office.’ Special consideration for cultural and religious garments is under the discretion of the branch management. Navy Federal is making inquiries into the recent incident.”
“Under this bizarre and discriminatory policy, no Muslim woman wearing a head scarf, no Sikh man wearing a turban, no Jewish man wearing a yarmulke, no Catholic nun wearing a habit, no cancer survivor wearing a scarf, no Amish woman wearing a bonnet, and no blind person wearing sunglasses may enter a Navy Federal Credit Union branch nationwide,” said CAIR-San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida. “We call on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate this disturbing case and Navy Federal’s apparently unconstitutional policy and to ensure that the religious rights of all customers are maintained.”
Hopida said CAIR offers a booklet called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices” to help corporate managers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.