31 August 2009

Ramadan lunch breaks

The Toronto Star has a good article up today about Muslims and lunch breaks during Ramadan.

The author, Stuart Laidlaw, points out that Muslims tend to become more practising during Ramadan, which means that more of them attend Friday prayer. For Muslims who work, that means taking an extra-long lunch break in order to make it to the mosque, listen to the sermon, perform the prayer, and arrive back at work.

Nadir Shirazi, president of Multifacet Diversity Solutions, suggests that non-Muslim co-workers should not think their Muslim colleagues are slacking off. Meanwhile, Liz Chappel, who is vice-president of the Toronto Area Interfaith Council, reminds us that "Our workplaces are centred around Christian holidays", and urges non-Muslims to be aware of what a spiritually important time their Muslim workmates are going through.

My favourite line in the article is "Shirazi and Chappel say employers should avoid holding lunch meetings". Having sat through some of those myself during Ramadan, I can tell you they're painful.

One thing the article didn't bring out, though, is, what about Muslims who attend Friday prayer at other times, during the remaining 11 months of the year? This story almost makes it sound as if Friday prayer is only important during Ramadan.

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