Saturday, May 26, 2007

Accommodating Muslim Prayer Is Growing Issue

Accommodation of Muslims who wish to take time at school or work to pray has become a growing issue. The U.S. Department of Justice reports in its May Newsletter, Religious Freedom in Focus, that earlier this month it settled a complaint by Muslim students in the Lewisville Texas Independent School District who wanted to use an empty classroom during lunch to pray. Under the settlement agreement, the school agreed that the Muslim students could use space in a common area outside the cafeteria for their mid-day prayers.

Meanwhile, in Omaha, Nebraska, 70 out of 120 Somali meatpacking workers have now returned to work after they quit their jobs because they were not given sufficient time off to pray at sundown. The company has agreed to accommodate workers as much as they can within the terms of the union contract. The Associated Press says that, as summer arrives, later sundowns may create problems, however. The company is concerned that they will need to completely close down production if too many workers are off the assembly line at the same time for prayer.