US company fires 200 Muslim employees over prayer dispute

Published: January 2, 2016


Nearly 200 Muslim employees have been fired from a meat-packing plant in the United States after they downed tools following a disagreement over praying at work.

The workers, mostly Somalian immigrants, staged a walkout in objection to what they said was inadequate accommodation of prayer time at Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan, Colorado.

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Although the company provided a “reflection room” for Muslim employees to pray since 2009, the workers claim the policy has been changed, according to The Telegraph.

“All of these employees are good employees and don’t have any other issues. They feel missing their prayer is worse than losing their job. It’s like losing a blessing from God,” Jaylani Hussein, a council spokesperson said.


Further, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) claimed the workers had been treated with prejudice and told, “If you want to pray, go home”.

However, the company, Cargill Meat Solutions said there has been a ‘misunderstanding’ and its policy of allowing time for prayer has not changed.

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Moreover, plant managers from the company met with workers, members of the Somali community, and union leaders after the walk-out but failed to resolve the issue, according to a spokesperson for the company. He said workers were advised that not turning up for work three days in a row would put them at risk of losing their jobs.  However, after 200 of them didn’t turn up they were terminated.

“Cargill makes every reasonable attempt to provide religious accommodations to all employees based on our ability to do so without disruption to our beef-processing business,” the spokesperson added.

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“At no time did Cargill prevent people from prayer at Fort Morgan. Nor have we changed policies related to religious accommodation and attendance. This has been mischaracterised.”


Speaking to Denver Post the spokesperson said, “It’s an unfortunate situation that may be based somewhere in a misunderstanding. There has been a desire among some employees to go in larger groups of people to pray.

“We just can’t accommodate that. It backs up the flow of all the production. We have to ensure food safety. We have to ensure the products we produce meet consumer expectations.”

This article originally appeared on The Telegraph

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Reader Comments (45)

  • Tyggar
    Jan 2, 2016 - 2:46PM

    Give an inch and they start asking for a mileRecommend

  • Ashraf
    Jan 2, 2016 - 5:04PM

    How can you even make a living when you don’t make the necessary adjustments?Recommend

  • Pakistan Zindabad
    Jan 2, 2016 - 5:27PM

    Muslim asking right is problem for them. And they want privileges from us. Very Strange.Recommend

  • Imtiaz
    Jan 2, 2016 - 5:34PM

    If only native born americans were willing to do these sort of jobs.Recommend

  • cautious
    Jan 2, 2016 - 5:44PM

    You walk off the job for three days – you get fired – doesn’t matter whether your Muslim, Jew, or whatever. Production facilities need reliable workers – not holy ones.Recommend

  • curious2
    Jan 2, 2016 - 8:06PM


    If only native born americans were
    willing to do these sort of jobs.

    You comment implies that their is something wrong/demeaning about this job – I suggest otherwise. BTW Cargill employs about 155,000 people.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jan 2, 2016 - 8:31PM

    In a Capitalist system, if a business cannot survive without you, it would accommodate you at any cost. If it can, then it would not take a minute to get rid of you. Production and meeting target is its most important priority. It would do the same with followers of any religion or race. A business establishment is not a charity organization or place for worshipers. The employer must had already arranged replacements. Have the workers found new jobs for themselves before going on strike? Capitalist system has a way out for everyone.Recommend

  • Zen
    Jan 2, 2016 - 9:31PM

    @Pakistan Zindabad:
    Could you list out all the privileges you have given?Recommend

  • Karachiite
    Jan 2, 2016 - 10:04PM

    People are more important than products, Cargill.Recommend

  • HZR
    Jan 2, 2016 - 10:35PM

    Religion is brought into everything and as immigrants how can they dictate their terms.They must try this approach in gulf nations and see the results.They will summarily sent out not because they could not pray..because they unionised!!Recommend

  • Sodomite
    Jan 2, 2016 - 11:00PM

    Business comes first in the USA not religion. Its a secular nation. If Muslims cannot understand this simple concept then they should not migrate to the US but instead should go to Muslim lands. Recommend

  • Skywalker
    Jan 2, 2016 - 11:07PM

    Looks like employment laws in US need to be updated, otherwise there would be more lawsuits on such things.

    I have seen people not doing certain jobs because it is against their beliefs. This is way beyond that. These people need to start their own businesses and run it the way they want, instead of working for others. May be some Muslims can put some seed money in a venture which will employ these folks.Recommend

  • Babbarsher Khan
    Jan 2, 2016 - 11:55PM

    They are there to work or pray? They could very, well pray, at home or after works hours. If they think that it is their inalienable right to pray the whole day, anywhere or any time of the day, they could immigrate to the pious land of ours or Saudi Arabia and submit themselves totally to the Creator. The problem is, Uncle Sam believes you need to “create” some wealth before you “give away” your creative self to the Creator! Recommend

  • hmm
    Jan 3, 2016 - 12:06AM

    Simple..choose between job and prayer. You can not go in droves for prayer. And also should not be paid for this time.Recommend

  • Kolsat
    Jan 3, 2016 - 5:59AM

    @Sodomite: I believe that this concept of praying five times a day was ok in the times gone by but not now. The reason for five prayers a day was to ensure people stay in the faith. In this day and age it is not necessary to pray to show that you are devout. Onec a day is enough.Recommend

  • Vikram
    Jan 3, 2016 - 6:15AM

    Send them back to Somalia. In few years these people will be demanding Sharia. City should watch these people, they may hit back.Recommend

  • Vikram
    Jan 3, 2016 - 6:21AM

    @Imtiaz: Mexicans will do these jobs in a minute. Mexicans are also hard workers and won’t ask for Sharia.Recommend

  • HG
    Jan 3, 2016 - 6:36AM

    Go Back where you feel comfortable.Recommend

  • Mahesh
    Jan 3, 2016 - 7:34AM

    I will definitely vote for Trump.Recommend

  • Fast
    Jan 3, 2016 - 7:37AM

    Stop providing oil to these back stabbers western countries and then you will see a major change in their behaviors.Recommend

  • Kathy
    Jan 3, 2016 - 8:29AM

    As a Christian, we are told in Scripture to pray without ceasing. For me, that means I can pray throughout the day, whether I am driving my car, or washing the dishes, or doing the laundry, or shopping, or working in my studio. I have a personal relationship with God, and can talk to Him WHENEVER I need to, I do not have to walk away from my work and go to a separate room to pray.. Any of us has that same ability.

    I wonder if the same privileges would be given to a Christian, or a Jew or a Mormon, or any other religion, to take those breaks to go spend time apart in prayer? And would there be an uproar in the news regarding such?

    I am really concerned about companies rights being put on the line to accomplish what they need to for their company to succeed; and always the possibility of a lawsuit hanging over their heads, i they don’t comply with this group of people. When any American is hired for a job, they know that the law allows them a mandatory lunch break, and two 15 minute breaks per day. When you are hired by a company, you are there to be paid to do a service for them. If you cannot, or will not perform the job, as expected, then you don’t get to keep the job, and it will go to the next qualified applicant. Recommend

  • AA
    Jan 3, 2016 - 9:00AM

    @Babbarsher Khan:
    Ever flipped a dollar bill ??? It reads , “IN GOD WE TRUST” This is the same GOD they are trying to pray. Ignorance is a bliss.Recommend

  • Nav
    Jan 3, 2016 - 9:31AM

    Because of these people other Muslims will not get jobs. Now, this company and other companies will prefer non-muslim workers as they are ready to work during working hours than going for prayers 5-times a day – whatever may be the shift. It has been highlighted in videos in Youtube how muslims are ignored, as they are not ready to work in a dress code. They want to work in Beauty parlour with Hijab, not ready to serve alcohol in airlines or Bar or want prayer brakes. Now, non-muslims are preferred for jobs because of above such behaviours of few muslims.Recommend

  • grym
    Jan 3, 2016 - 11:34AM

    Have to be pretty insecure to need to pray so often. The lowlifes should not only be fired, but deported as well.Recommend

  • Rao
    Jan 4, 2016 - 5:13AM

    @Tyggar: Don’t you understand understand that food for spirit and soul that is offered in prayer is as important as food for the stomachs? Recommend

  • Rao
    Jan 4, 2016 - 5:25AM

    Pray to Allah must be permitted as it serves as food for the soul. I suggest these Muslim immigrants can keep their jobs by praying at home before coming to work , twice long, pray once during lunch and finally a praying after going home , twice long. That amounts to 5 units of prayer time. That everybody will be happy!Recommend

  • Travis
    Jan 4, 2016 - 7:17AM

    This is yet another reason why employers will shy away from employing Muslims. They come with a lot of baggage and are generally high-maintenance.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:38AM

    Exactly my sentiments as an Ancient Astronaut Theorist.Recommend

  • Colin
    Jan 4, 2016 - 11:31AM

    They want safety, security, medicine, education, a future life?
    Well that has to be paid for just like the rest of us.
    Off you knees and back to work.
    Otherwise the work and the results of that work should go to those that will work.
    I suggest a termination payment in the form of an air ticket back where they came from.Recommend

  • Jan 4, 2016 - 4:38PM

    Offering prayer is fundamental rights of every muslim. This is called open discrimination. Recommend

  • Rahul
    Jan 4, 2016 - 4:54PM

    My good friend Saudi Arabia has nothing else except oil to sustain it’s economy. Let’s imagine a scenario where like you said Saudi should stop it’s oil to the west. What will happen is that US and Europe would splutter and stutter at first but eventually they will find a different alternative for oil. But what will happen to Saudi and it’s precious monarchy? It will die a fast death. Think about it. Recommend

  • I am a Khan
    Jan 4, 2016 - 7:59PM

    Imagine what sort of outrage would have been if the news read “200 Christian or 200 Hindu workers sacked at a factory in Pakistan, over prayer dispute” but Alas here the victims are muslims and the country is USA so everyone supports USA…Recommend

  • HZR
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:12PM

    Oil is no more weapon and those day of OPEC are gone.right now the world gets only 22% of its oil from Mid East.there are so many parallel sources of energy, no one can dictate terms any longer.The only big importers are China and India and not for long either.Recommend

  • genesys
    Jan 4, 2016 - 10:19PM

    @Kamran Ahmad Kami:
    Exactly..bu with a rider.There is a time and place for prayer and not during working hours.If you insist there are others who will only work and not pray because work feeds you .these are low skilled jobs and there are many waiting to take them.Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Jan 5, 2016 - 12:45AM

    @I am a Khan:
    “200 Christian or 200 Hindu workers sacked at a factory in Pakistan, over prayer dispute”

    How do you treat Ahmedis over prayer disputes?Recommend

  • Vikram
    Jan 5, 2016 - 2:09AM

    @I am a Khan: If that happens in Pakistan, Muslims will accuse Christians of blasphemy. Muslim mobs and imams will go and burn Christians homes.Recommend

  • Prada
    Jan 5, 2016 - 6:24AM

    @I am a Khan: When have you heard of a Hindu or a Christian skipping work to say his “prayer”?Recommend

  • Saad
    Jan 5, 2016 - 6:25AM

    Pray to Allah to give you a monthly salary so that you can stay at home and pray. These people do not really understand religion.Recommend

  • Islamic Thekedar
    Jan 5, 2016 - 8:52AM

    Thank god, this time sensible comments are in majority.Recommend

  • junglee
    Jan 5, 2016 - 9:40AM

    True….One step out of Khyber and they ruled you and yours for centuries…true really. Recommend

  • Clockboy Ahmed
    Jan 5, 2016 - 10:44AM

    After being dethroned for ruling for centuries, numbnuts are scrapping the barrels are still begging to live in secular nations. So much for building so called empires.
    Keep on living in dreams.Recommend

  • Avtar
    Jan 6, 2016 - 5:07AM

    Muslims, like other religions, have to respect the local laws. When we go to work in Saudi or Gulf countries we respect their laws and regulations. In Koran specifically three prayers are mentioned (Morning, Noon and Evening) and not five as has become customary.Recommend

  • observer
    Feb 4, 2016 - 11:08AM

    @Kamran Ahmad Kami:

    “Offering prayer is fundamental rights of every muslim. This is called open discrimination.”

    Well, then they should move back to their muslim countries and sit at home and pray all day long.Recommend

  • Fimikashif
    Feb 4, 2016 - 2:16PM

    If both parties are willing to solve the problem this shud not b a major issue. A muslim prayer takes 10 min only and by max three prayertimes in an 8 hr job. Plus u can compromise upon the duration of lunch break…. One party shudnt ask for more than whts strictly necessary and the other party must give that….when there is a will there is a way….Recommend

  • Fimikashif
    Feb 4, 2016 - 2:25PM

    I cant understand why ppl r fighting over everything these days…. Nobody wants to compromise or come to an understanding…. The world is full of extremists…. I m really afraid for the future generationsRecommend

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