No prayer hatin’

A St. Cloud-based poultry company isn’t exactly chicken when it comes to accommodating diversity.

According to a Sep. 10 Associated Press article, Gold’n Plump Poultry Inc. has agreed to allow nine Somali Islamic workers at its plants to take short prayer breaks and refuse to handle pork products in response to a 2006 class-action lawsuit.

In the suit, the workers accused Work Connection, an employment agency, of requiring Islamic applicants to sign a “pork acknowledgement form” in which they agreed to handle pork. It is alleged in the complaint that the workers who did not sign the document were not hired. Work Connection denies the allegations, but has reached a settlement with some of the employees for an undisclosed amount of money while other workers may receive new employment offers at Gold’n Plump.

The company’s new policy is an appropriate response to the initial complaint against the company. With so many companies accommodating Christianity by giving days off to celebrate holidays, it is only fitting the same accommodations are made for other religions.

As Islam is a rising religion – and considering our current political state – the new policy sends a message that America is slowly but surely becoming more tolerant of different cultures and religious affiliations. Hopefully Gold’n Plump’s action will influence other countries to adopt similar policies.

In doing this, the door would be open for cultural toleration on the part of the employees. Working with those who are now protected under the policy could help to educate a large quantity of people about the misconception of other religions and other nationalities, and also bring an understanding between them.