Friday, August 08, 2008

COMMENT: Jewish union leader negotiates religious holiday for American Muslim workers ...

The New York Times reports that a poultry plant in the American state of Tennessee has decided to award Muslim workers a paid holiday for its 1,200-strong workforce, a large proportion of whom are of Somali Muslim background.

Unfortunately, the move has been met with prejudice by some ...

“You are a union that is proud of achieving a Muslim holiday and prayer room?” one person wrote the union. “A union in the U.S.A., a country based on Christianity. You call yourselves Americans? Have you forgotten 9/11?”

Another wrote: “You had no right to drop Labor Day. Muslim employees must integrate Labor Day into THEIR lives if they are going to live in America.”

The move to allow Muslim workers to take Eid as a holiday instead of Labor Day was negotiated by Stuart Applebaum, who also serves as President of the Jewish Labor Committee. It only applies in one of Tyson's many hundreds of factories.

The usual array of far-Right fruitloops, including chronic Muslim-hater Robert Spencer, have condemned the move. Read this paragraph and wonder ...

The problem is that the accommodation of Islamic holidays and practices abets, however unwittingly, an avoudly supremacist agenda that is directed toward supplanting American laws and mores and imposing Islamic law here.

Using this logic, any legal accommodation to American Muslims must be opposed. Next, Spencer will be calling upon planning authorities not to grant Muslim groups with permits to build mosques. But more than that, Spencer is actually accusing the President of the Jewish Labor Committee of being a conduit for the imposition of Islamic law in America. Applebaum should get legal advice about commencing defamation proceedings against Spencer.

You can read echoes of Spencer's imbecilic rants in the comments section to this article. You can read more such comments here. Adolf Hitler will be smiling in his grave.

One so-called Christian questions whether Tyson's Foods can still call itself an American country. Don Swarthout , President of Christians Reviving America's Values (Crave), provided this hysterical response ...

What makes this particularly upsetting is that Tyson is replacing a secular holiday with an Islamic Religious Holiday. If we wanted to replace a secular holiday with a Christian holiday the company or the courts would not allow us to do such a thing.

That may be true, except that Christmas day is already a public holiday! The last time I checked, American Jews weren't lining up to celebrate Christmas day.

After all this hysteria, the company issued this press release. The press release sets out the background behind the decision ...

This change came about as a result of union demands brought to the negotiating table, and was agreed upon by Tyson in an effort to reach a contractual agreement with the union. The contract that calls for this change was unanimously recommended by the 12-person union bargaining committee, which included three Somali employees. The contract was then overwhelmingly agreed to by 80 percent of the rank and file membership of the union at the Shelbyville plant.

Imagine that. Four out of five union members supported this proposal. Democracy in action. But don't expect cyber-fascists like Spencer and Schlussel to have any respect for democracy.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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EVENT: Islamic Awareness Week across the Tasman ...

While the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has just about completed yet another round of expensive litigation, across the Tasman New Zealand's peak Muslim body is spending its money on organising a nationwide Islamic Awareness Week. The theme of the IAW 2008 is "Strong Families - Better Society", hardly the sort of theme which far-Right allegedly conservative fruitloops (such as the nutters that produce Investigate (or should that be Investi-hate?) magazine) could complain about.

Among the events being held are a women's fashion parade and a number of dinners for students and staff hosted by various Muslim Students Associations (MSA's). A number of prominent New Zealanders will also be awarded for their contributions to relations between Muslims and the broader community. For some reason, nobody thought of providing an award to someone in the NZ media.

And in case you wondered who were the first recorded Muslims in New Zealand, read this ...

The first identifiable Muslims resident in New Zealand are 15 Chinese gold diggers working in the South Island, recorded in the government census of April 1874. Little is known of them and it is assumed they either moved on to Australia or returned to China.

The Muslim Heritage part of the website includes biographies of prominent Muslims, among them Mazhar Krasniqi, a Kiwi of Albanian origin who (if I am not mistaken) has a very prominent son-in-law.

Well done, dear Kiwistanis!

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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