Islamophobia Around the U.S.: News Roundup

The EEOC filed suit on behalf of 80 Muslim Somali workers at JBS Swift & Co. meatpacking plants in Nebraska and California, claiming the plants “created a hostile work environment for Somali and Muslim workers due to their race, national origin and religion” (Greeley Tribune reports).

In September 2008 Muslim employees celebrating Ramadan asked the company to change their meal time to 7:30pm so that they could break their fasts at sunset. The company switched the meal break, but 3 days later (after non-Muslim employees protested) when they went outside to pray and break their fast, the doors of the plant were shut and they were not allowed in.
Since then there have been a number of reported incidents involving religious and racial discrimination, with employees saying they were regularly refused prayer time and bathroom breaks and called racial slurs by co-workers and managers.
There are many organizations approaching employees’ Ramadan needs with sensitivity and respect; we hope that these employers become the norm rather than the exception.
Park51 also remained in the headlines this week:
Unfortunately, so did Islamophobia and anti-mosque sentiment generally. The New York City cabbie stabbing remained front and center, and several other anti-Islam or anti-mosque incidents took place:
In a bit of good news, however, the embattled Murfreesboro, Tennessee Islamic Center saw a show of support:
Be on the lookout next week for Tanenbaum’s educator resources on Park51 – a curriculum guide, fact sheets, news articles and more. As our students head back to school, the larger debate will go with them. Tanenbaum is working to give teachers the tools they need to guide difficult conversations about Park51, 9/11 and Islamophobia in the U.S.
Those of you in the U.S., enjoy the long weekend! We’ll see you again next Friday.