About 190 Muslim workers at the Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Fort Morgan, Colorado have been fired for refusing to show up for work during an ongoing dispute over prayer accommodations. The controversy began when 11 Somali Muslim workers requested to visit the building’s prayer room at the same time. Administrators asked the workers to go in smaller groups to keep production flowing, expressing concerns over work stoppages. But while the workers initially complied, 10 resigned at the end of the day, citing disapproval with the policy.
As news of the incident spread, roughly 200 workers — most of whom are Muslim and all of whom are represented by the Teamsters Union — staged a walkout in solidarity with the Muslim workers, many staying home from work for three days. Cargill representatives claim they initially attempted to resolve the issue, but eventually fired workers who didn’t return to the production line.
Previously Cargill had not only allowed the practice but also provided a room for the purpose. The time for the ritual was carved out of a 15-minute break period or from an unpaid lunch break. Cargill denied changing its policy on prayers in the workplace and said such accommodations are not guaranteed. The Council on American Islamic Relations is currently working reach an agreement with Cargill so that those fired workers can return.
Muslim Praying Rituals
There are five obligatory prayers in a day. Muslims pray to one God, facing the Holy Mosque in the city of Makkah (Mecca). They stand before God by making the intention to pray, leaving all other chores and concerns aside.
While standing, the first chapter of the Quran is recited. After the first chapter, any other passage from the Quran is recited.
Muslims then bow to God and glorify him expressing complete submission and humility through prostration and placing of their foreheads on ground. Depending on the time of the prayer, Muslims repeat this cycle once, twice or thrice in each prayer.
In the end (and also in the middle for some prayers) Muslims sit to testify before God, and at the very end, Muslims turn their face to the right and the left, sending God’s Peace on those surrounding them. With this greeting, the obligatory prayer ends.