Thursday, January 24, 2008

Want tips on dealing with Muslims in the workplace?

hilarious!: I found this article while looking up information on the rights of Muslims in the workplace and educating prospective employers and employees about workplace diversity.
Good stuff!
Have a Muslim in your employ or as your co-worker? Feeling a little frightened? Alone? We at Satirical Muslim understand the situation will be different for various employers and co-workers. So in order to ease the oft-difficult teething process of bringing a Muslim into your team, Satirical Muslim offers its guide to dealing with Muslims in the workplace for both the Nervous Employer and the Overly-Accommodating Employer.
The beliefs
Do not quip about your “infidel” status. We get it. Ha ha. You’re an unbeliever. But your employee works for you, not a renegade militia in the Afghan mountains. Don’t feel suspicious because of your differences. It’s dangerously possibly the Muslim man or woman is just working for you to earn an income to provide for their families — not unleash jihad on your infidel capitalist system. Put aside your disappointment and suck it up — and stop calling the terrorism hotline.
Finally, when asking your Muslim employee questions, it’s not a good idea to respond with, “That’s so stupid. Welcome to the 21st century!” Reactions to these kinds of judgments will vary. Although Islam is a religion of peace, the same can’t always be said for Muslims. Just something to bear in mind.

The halal food
It’s not discrimination to have both halal and non-halal meat available in Australia, so don’t make a fuss when your Muslim employee refuses the ham and cheese sandwich at morning tea. You’ll survive. This isn’t about you. Haven’t you seen Babe, you heartless carnivore?
The dress
Many Muslims adhere to a strict dress code. While many are familiar with the hijab and burqa, not many are aware that Muslim men are obligated to grow a beard. (Note, this means an actual beard, not a funky goatee with fancy designs.)
If a Muslim man in your employ has a moustache or a rat’s tail, find a way to fire him without it looking discriminatory. There’s no excuse for either. Ever.
Don’t be alarmed by a woman’s hijab. As frightening as fabric from Spotlight can be, nothing’s going to happen to you, and research indicates that the hijab-wearer’s brain size does not decrease due to the pressure of the material. This is good news for you when it comes to her work performance!

Asking questions is always a good place to start in finding out more about a person’s modest dress code. Be casual, not cagey.
We advise against the overused “Don’t you get hot in that?” Most likely the wearer is thinking that hell is a whole lot hotter. Also veer away from, “I know many Muslim women choose to wear it but that’s only because they don’t know any better”. You’ve just insulted many members of her family, and inadvertently told her that she and her belief systems are stupid. A no-brainer that that’s not very nice now, is it? (Following on from such a faux pas, you might want to check whether she has any brothers and gauge the level of closeness between them.)
The breaking-the-ice
No, Ahmed in shipping doesn’t “know where Bin Laden is”. Where’d you get your sense of humour — a cornflakes box?
Joking about the world’s most wanted isn’t going to endear your employer to you or your workplace. If it’s meant to ease your heightened and exaggerated sense of fear, maybe try a brain exercise, like throwing a ball, or writing your name out and admiring it. Anything that doesn’t involve you putting your foot in your mouth will do just fine.
The prayers
Muslims pray five times a day. Each prayer only takes about ten to fifteen minutes (including time for ablutions). The ritual won’t disrupt other employees and has nothing to do with Al-Qaeda.
However, if the employee is not back within those fifteen minutes, most likely he or she is off for a ciggie. It may be best to keep tabs on them. Note, however, that on Fridays Muslim men must attend prayer at a nearby mosque or prayer room. This can take up to an hour. Don’t question the time taken there. It will only get messy and you’ll have HREOC on your back quicker than you can say “jihad”.

The washing
Before prayer, it’s necessary to make ablutions (see above). This includes washing the feet. If you walk in to your restroom and see your employee mid-feet-wash in the sink, don’t be afraid. It’s just a foot, and that’s just water cleaning it. There is no anthrax involved in the process.
However, the employee may invoke the oft-used “I wash my feet five times a day so they’re cleaner than your face”. This is lame. Find a way to fire him or her without it looking discriminatory.
The office Christmas party
Muslims don’t drink alcohol. By all means invite all employees to the Christmas party, but don’t bother being culturally sensitive about it. Muslims shouldn’t be attending it in the first place unless you’re willing to take away the band, the alcohol and segregate the men from the women. You would also need to arrange for halal food, a prayer room and washing facilities, and rename it the ‘Office End-of-Year Gathering’.
You can just have your annual booze-fest without your Muslim employees in attendance and that way everyone’s happy.
The teetotalling and gambling
Don’t feel guilty that your Muslim employee doesn’t fancy the idea of getting smashed off their face at the local pub every Friday after work. There’s no need to move “Friday drinks” to the local coffee shop or include them in the weekly email confirming said booze-up so that he or she doesn’t “feel left out”.
The employee doesn’t feel left out.
Nor do they feel sad when they don’t lose 50 bucks on Melbourne Cup Day in the office sweepstakes.
Pick your battles.
The world
We understand this is new to you. But don’t try to break the ice and show your high tolerance levels by discussing politics and/or religion with your Muslim employee without Muslim supervision — at least not until you’ve ascertained which sect your Muslim employee adheres to, and where exactly their sympathies and focus lie in the war against terror.
For example, is your employee from an area afflicted by the US’ “liberation” policies? Is your employee a traditionalist, modernist, progressive, liberal, modernist-progressive-liberal, moderate or extremist? Sometimes that person doesn’t even know until a smarty pants co-worker challenges their belief system.
If you make the mistake of offending your Muslim employee, assure them you don’t buy Danish anymore and take some annual leave until the incident is forgotten.

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