Sunday, September 21, 2008

Woman takes Swift workers' "plight" to D.C.

Nation: What plight? They wanted the company to accommodate them beyond reason which brought out the anger of the majority of workers working at the Swift Plant. They didn't get it and they walked out.

A Denver woman with ties to the White House has taken the issue concerning Muslims at the JBS Swift & Co. plant to national leaders.

During a recent Ramadan dinner at the White House, Seeme Hasan spoke with administrators and the Brazilian ambassador to the U.S. about the firing of about 120 Muslim employees at JBS Swift's Greeley meatpacking plant. The company's parent company is based in Brazil, which has a Muslim population.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Hasan has consulted the U.S. State Department on relationships with Muslim countries and has been an organizer for the White House's annual Ramadan dinner.

Hasan, who is a co-founder of Muslims for America, also said she spoke with a "high-ranking" White House staffer about the potential public relations nightmare the issue could create.

"You have some Muslim newspaper pick this up, and they will call Americans heartless," she said. "This can give us a bad public image relationship. We don't need this. We look bad. In America, we look bad."

Hasan said she was informed that the U.S. Labor Department would look into the matter.

She said she was appalled when she first heard of the news.

"I thought it was horrible," Hasan said. "It's like firing (Christians) 10 days before Christmas."

She said she doesn't understand why it had to come down to firing the workers.

"When you hired these Muslim workers, you knew there would be religious constraints," she said about JBS Swift. "The least they can do is make some adjustments for them."

Hasan said to make workers wait another hour after they have fasted all day is wrong.

"It has nothing to do with ideology," she said. "When you are done with the fast, you need to eat something."

First there have been Christians fired during Christmas and the consideration to getting fired around that time is due to PR about the timing not religion. Second, you are setting a dangerous mark and ill-informed statement that hiring Muslims means certain constraints that everyone else has to work around. That will not be accepted in America. Every other group has had to conform and become a part of the social fabric of America, not the other way around.

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