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Sender: o-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 96 14:49:51 CST
From: cair1@ix.netcom.com (CAIR)
Subject: CAIR: Islam in the Workplace Project
Organization: Netcom
Article: 1798

CAIR initiates Islam in the Workplace project

Council on American-Islamic Relations, 4 December 1996

CAIR receives calls almost every day from Muslim workers who believe they have been discriminated against because they wish to carry out the obligations of their faith.

This discrimination can take many forms. For Muslim women employees, the source of the discrimination is often prejudice against Islamic dress. Discrimination is also expressed in a variety of other ways, including:

1) not allowing time or space for daily prayers or unpaid time off for Friday prayers,

2) not allowing time off for the two Eids,

3) banning the wearing of kufis or beards,

4) supervisors allowing anti-Muslim joking by co-workers,

5) Muslim workers being penalized for not participating in company functions at which alcohol is served or un-Islamic activities take place, or

6) discrimination based on such things as accents or national origin.

Because CAIR believes in a pro-active approach to problems faced by the American Muslim community, we are initiating a ISLAM IN THE WORKPLACE public information campaign designed to educate corporate managers about the rights and responsibilities of both Muslim workers and their employers in regard to the reasonable accommodation of religious practices.

This campaign will, inshallah, involve the development of educational materials (brochures, fact sheets, posters, videos, etc.) to be distributed to the media and to managers of Fortune 500 companies. Materials outlining the rights and responsibilities of employees will also be distributed to the Muslim community. The effort will be launched with a nationwide media campaign.


1. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS - Muslim workers often accept discriminatory treatment because they either do not know what their rights are, or because they believe no good will come out of reporting the discrimination. Local communities need to educate themselves about what employers can and cannot ask of workers. The Islam in the Workplace project will, inshallah, develop materials to be used in this educational process.

2. REPORT ACTS OF DISCRIMINATION - In the past, Muslim workers did not have an organization dedicated to protecting their rights. CAIR now deals with these cases and issues an annual report on the status of Muslim civil rights in America. Report any incidents to CAIR, to local Muslim organizations and to local/state worker's rights offices.

3. SUPPORT THE WORKPLACE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT OF 1996 - U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) (Tel: 202-225-5635) has introduced legislation called the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 1996. (H.R. 4117, S. 2071) This proposed legislation would strengthen Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination based on religion and requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious practices provided that the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the employer's business.

4. DONATE TO THE CAMPAIGN - Yes, I would like to help in the effort to protect Muslim worker's rights. Here is my contribution to the Islam in the Workplace project.

. . .

(Clip and return to: CAIR, 1050 17th St., N.W., Suite 490, Washington, DC 20036)