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.
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.
some had worked at the plant for nearly a year, they said
prayer didn't become a problem until December.
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.
on American-Islamic Relations, an organization based in Washington,
began negotiating with company owners while local groups tried
to help the workers.
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
said the Somalis still weren't able to leave the line when
they needed to pray.
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