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Accomodating Muslims in the US workplace - questions

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Amerikaur, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. Amerikaur

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    Feb 20, 2005
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    Muslim ji and everyone else,

    I apologize for the length of this post...but I hope you all can be of service. I belong to a nationwide networking group for Human Resource professionals that typically discusses employment law. Accomodations for people who are of lesser-known faiths occasionally comes up in conversation, and I was wondering if you can assist me in answering some questions that have come up in one form or another. If we have better understanding of an employees potential needs, it allows us to address the matter with the employee with a bit more dignity...and it may also allow us to be more expedient about working out problems.

    If I have made any mistakes in my understanding, or assumptions, then please correct me...

    Muslims pray 5 times a day

    - Do the prayers have to be at/near a specific time? If so, when?
    - How many of these prayers are likely to overlap during the workday?

    - About how long do the prayers take?

    Large cities offer a challenge to Muslim workers. Many Muslim professionals choose to pray in their cars...however, in many large US cities, it is impractical for the worker to drive to work. Due to high cost...most city offices also do not have much extra space that is unused or unoccupied.

    - To accomodate a Muslim's prayers, must the Muslim be in a private room by himself/herself? Or is it sufficient that the company makes arrangements to the Muslim is not disturbed while s/he is saying prayers?

    Muslims are forbidden from paying any interest, or earning money from any interest. However, it is my understanding that Muslims are permitted to own valuables such as gold, silver, or diamonds.

    - Are Muslims allowed to own non-cash investments such as stocks/bonds/mutual funds/annuities?

    - All 401(k) plans (private, tax-deffered retirement plans) consist of a choice of these non-cash investments. Would a Muslim be able to participate in this kind of plan?

    - Some large 401(k) plans occasionally allow the individual to pick gold funds (gold certificates) as their investment choice. Would the Muslim be permitted to invest in gold?

    Some companies have a holiday party around Christmas time. Some Americans do not drink alcohol, others do. At some (not all) company holiday parties, alcohol is often served for the people that do drink. Employers NEVER insist, expect, or urge an employee to drink alcohol.

    - Does the Muslim faith have any restriction of celebrating with colleagues after work hours?

    - Would it be unacceptable to a Muslim to attend a company party where alcohol was served?

    Are there any holidays/holy days/festivals where a Muslim might take off from work?

    - If so, what are the holidays...and do they have a typical time of year when they fall? Or is it like the month of Ramadan where the time is a bit different each year?

    We are largely not sure about work restrictions for Muslims.
    - Is Friday a holy day/sabbath day for Muslims?

    - Is there any kind of work that a Muslim would be prevented from doing on a Friday

    - Is their any kind of work that is forbidden for a Muslim to do at any time of the week?

    - Do Muslims need to be concerned with leaving work before sundown?

    Is there anything that you can think of that you may want to add?

    Any answers would be great...thank you so much!
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