(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/10/05) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on Dell Computers to rehire 30 Muslims workers allegedly fired from a plant in Tennessee for seeking to perform religiously-mandated prayers in the workplace. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also offered to help the company and its employees reach a mutually-agreeable solution to the dispute.
CAIR said the workers were fired from a Dell facility in Nashville, Tenn., after they sought to perform the Islamic “Maghrib” prayer each day after sunset. (While the window of opportunity to perform the other four daily Islamic prayers, the sunset prayer is tied to a particular time of day and therefore requires greater flexibility and creativity on the part of employers and workers. Muslims pray each day after the break of dawn, at midday, in the afternoon, at sunset, and in the evening.)
“Given sufficient goodwill on the part of all those involved, both the employees’ legal right to reasonable religious accommodation and the employer’s right to maintain smooth operations in the workplace can be maintained,” said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar.
In a letter sent today to Dell President and CEO Kevin B. Rollins, Iftikhar asked that the Muslim workers be rehired pending resolution of the issues involved. He said CAIR staffers who have experience dealing with workplace religious accommodation are available to act as mediators between the Muslim workers and Dell.
CAIR publishes a booklet, called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to prevent just such incidents. The booklet is available by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. (Include name, address and phone number when requesting the booklet.) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires an employer to accommodate religious practices unless it causes an “undue hardship.”
The Washington-based group has 31 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. To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist’s window to the American Muslim community. Subscribers to the list, called ISLAM-INFONET, receive news releases and other materials dealing with American Muslim positions on issues of importance to our society.
To SUBSCRIBE to ISLAM-INFONET, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/islam-infonet/