Muslims in the Workplace

September 23, 2008 at 7:58 am Leave a comment

Praise the Lord! Ramadan is almost over. Soon American and European employers  won’t have to be intimidated by hungry, hollow-faced, dry-mouthed, weak employees in the workplace. Those of you who were intimidated into being politically correct enough to allow your employees to work in such dire circumstance (it would be inhumanely cruel if you demanded they not eat, drink, or smoke for 12 hours) can take heart. You do not even have to endure it for the rest of the month. Read this and decide if it was worth it after all.

Most reputable organizations desire to balance corporate, client, and employee needs. In light of such considerations, special interest groups within organizations may wish to take advantage of a modern employer’s goodwill policies. While efforts are usually made to grant reasonable requests, some desires can be unsettling and counterproductive. Muslims are special interest groups who often ask for special favors in the workplace with regard to but not limited to prayers and fasting.  Further desires for evaluation could be relevant to wishes regarding gender segregation, food preference and availability, client involvement, personal hygeine, and product handling.


Once procedural precedent is set, Muslim employees within other organizations will attempt to follow suit, and the demands for special privileges will increase promptly and proportionally throughout our country’s policies, institutions, and organizations.


 I practiced Islam for a few years and learned that Muslim prayer times are not obligatory when work, circumstances, or other situations make it inconvenient or otherwise inappropriate. Therefore, Muslims are not required to pray during the work hours. It is quite acceptable and very common for them to make up missed prayers at home, even in the Middle East. Unperformed Muslim prayers can accumulate days upon days if necessary. Muslims simply cannot do them in advance of their prescribed times. Indeed, Muslims may choose to go to great lengths to pray in out of the ordinary places because of peer pressure and prestige. It is a good way to separate themselves from the other employees, gain special recognition, demonstrate piousness, and set precedent for Sharia Law.


 Spending several months in the Middle East as a practitioner of Islam, I neither saw nor heard of a public, or private for that matter, “footbath.” Interestingly, a Muslim can even use dirt instead of water to wash before praying if water is not available.
With regards to fasting, a Muslim does not have to fast for similar reasons as above. Fasting, unlike to praying, does not have to be made-up.

An organization should carefully weigh what is in its best interest in relation to permissiveness, expenses, safety, client needs, and compatibility with regards to employee, customer, and community responsibilities. 

 Footbaths may cause an organization to spend unnecessary money on superficial needs, while prayer time and space may require inconvenient expenses and scheduling. Gender segregation can cause expensive design considerations, while workplace procedure and product handling inadequacies can be offensive to a valuable and diverse base of customers, clients, and employees.


 With regards to fasting during Ramadan, the break-fast time is at sunset. This actually means that food, beverages, smoking, and sexual activities can only be enjoyed during the hours of darkness. It does not mean that one must eat at sunset. It means they cannot indulge in the aforementioned during the daylight hours, or prior to sunset. Another feature of fasting is waking early to eat a meal before the sun rises, which can lead to fatigue and weakness later in the day.


 An organization must determine if it is productive to accommodate employees who are weak with hunger and thirst, and drowsy from rising before sunrise to eat. Faithful employees who do not require special needs may be justifiably resentful by the granting of such gratuitous “requests.” And most significant and overlooked is the reality that special concessions can become dangerously irreversible, potentially leading to demands, once initial  indulgence is made. 


 Since the promulgation of Islam is an unspoken objective behind most Muslim special interest wishes, employees and organizations should carefully anticipate the outcome and the necessity of requests that are merely an effort to gain further ground for the ambitious totalitarian ideology.


 Omar Ahmad, the founder of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, said “Islam is not in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant.”

Host country’s lack of knowledge about Islam allows incoming and existing Muslims to ask for special policy, procedure, and concessions that are not genuinely necessary for religious practice, while the actual reason for special requests is to expedite Islam’s ‘peaceful’ growth and spread Islam within the benevolent host society. Though employers may strive for workplace amiability, giving in to Muslim procedural requests for special privileges is dangerously irreversible. A concession is perceived as a victory for Islam, and history shows that Islamic victories lead to larger, less diplomatic and more comprehensive victories. Once gained, a new victory is not easily lost. Therefore, any decision for reversal provides Muslims an assumed ‘right’ for retribution.

Entry filed under: Islam, Modern Day Islam, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Special Privileges for Muslims, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , .

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