Somali Muslims Returning to Jobs After Quitting Over Muslim Prayers Issue

Posted on May 30, 2007

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By OSKAR GARCIA Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. — Dozens of Somali meatpacking workers who quit their jobs because they were not given enough time off for Muslim prayers have returned to work, but the issue could resurface as sundown inches later through the spring, a union official said Friday.

About 70 of 120 Somali workers are back on the job at the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant after abruptly quitting last week. The workers complained that existing break time rules did not let them leave lines to pray at sundown.

Similar requests for workplace accommodations of Muslim religious obligations have become common around the country, say Muslim advocates. [...]

Mohamed Rage, chairman of the Omaha Somali-American Community Organization, said some of the Somalis who left went to Kansas and Denver, while others remained in Nebraska and were planning to go back to work at Swift.

“They have to earn their living; at the same time they have to fulfill their faith,” Rage said. [more].

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