Muslim Employees Issued Ultimatum After Walking Off Job

Recently, 53 Muslims walked off their jobs at Ariens when the company issued a new directive that they are only allowed to pray during the two ten-minute breaks that all employees get who work eight-hour shifts.

CEO of the lawn mower and snow blower factory, Dan Ariens, said, "Let's say an assembly line has 10 people on it, if two people walk off the job, the other eight are standing there."

They have since been given an ultimatum to return to work by Monday. One worker believes he's been fired over religion. Yet, one of the longest-serving Muslim employees, Bashir Mahamed, said that some of his fellow Muslims are using prayer time to avoid work.

Dan Ariens said he had been forced to act in order to prevent a $1 million loss for the company each year. Ariens' family set up the business over 80 years ago.

In addition, he shared that "other non Muslim workers" have complained to him privately about all the time given to Muslim employees for prayer. Ariens went on to say "It just throws 800 people in disarray. Think of the unfairness. Everybody gets two ten minute breaks, but some additional 50 people are getting more breaks of maybe five or twenty minutes."

On the other hand, an Imam whose mosque is attended by many of the workers said Ariens is setting a dangerous precedent which other American businesses may follow.

Ariens employs 2,000 people, including 800 at the Brillion, Wisconsin plant. The Muslim workers, mostly from Somalia, came to the plant last summer. They argue that they can't ignore the requirements of their religion.

Ariens added that the breaks are much longer than five minutes as it takes around 15 or 20 minutes to walk towards the other side of the 365,000 square foot plant.

Photo: Youtube

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