Source: Religion News Service
Hundreds of Muslim workers at two meat processing plants in Colorado and Nebraska walked off the job earlier this month, protesting their employer's refusal to grant time to pray and break a 12-hour fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
About 100 workers were fired in Greeley, Colo., followed by about 80 in Grand Island, Neb. JBS Swift & Co. insists the terminations had nothing to do with religion, but rather with employees refusing to return to work.
Whatever its outcome, the stand-off and others like it may mark the start of a grassroots Muslim labor movement in the United States, as immigrants push for the kinds of religious accommodations they believe their Christian counterparts take for granted.
"American Muslims in recent years have become more organized and aware of our rights as Americans," said Ameena Mirza Qazi, a staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "As American Muslims become more a part of the American fabric -- as educators, professionals, leaders, day laborers, and factory workers -- we increasingly avail ourselves of rights that every American values."