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MOST SOMALIS BACK ON JOBS THEY'D LEFT OVER PRAYERS

 

Two weeks after 31 Somali refugees walked away from a College Park chicken processing plant saying they weren't being allowed to pray, most of the workers are back at the assembly line.

.The Somali Muslims left the plant, Sylvest Farms of Georgia, after being denied a break to pray at sunset, one of five times during the day they must pray.

Although some had worked at the plant for nearly a year, they said prayer didn't become a problem until December.

On Jan. 17, they said, plant management told them if they wanted to pray, they should leave. Local and national Muslim rights groups immediately tried to intercede on behalf of the workers, most of whom have been in this country for less than two years and do not speak English.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization based in Washington, began negotiating with company owners while local groups tried to help the workers.

.After several weeks of negotiations with CAIR, management at Sylvest Farms agreed to work around the Muslims' prayer schedule. Jimmy Hancock, the head of the plant, said it has even given the Somalis their own room for prayer. Before they used the locker room.

But Kerlew said the Somalis still weren't able to leave the line when they needed to pray.

Attorneys who were brought into the case are still negotiating what kind of compensation the employees will receive for their time away from work, and Kerlew said some of the workers plan to speak to some of their attorneys today

 

 





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