||Issue No. 157||18 October 2002|
End of Ignorance
Interview: The Wet One
Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Unions: Demolition Derby
Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
Politics: American Jihad
Health: Secret Country
Review: Walking On Water
Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
Month In Review
The Locker Room
Memo to Junior
Pandora's Box on Prayer?
Letters to the Editor
Pandora's Box on Prayer?
I read with interest the intervention about Kamal's case. I came from a land where there are a high proportion of Muslims.
Kamal may be a devout Muslim, good on him.
What concerns me is this. When a Muslim comes to live in a Western
Democracy, he/she enjoys and makes sure the trappings of Western
Civilisation fully benefit her/him. Should a Christian (most of whom traditionally live in and make up Western Democracies) be in the same situation as Kamal but in a Majority Muslim society, I doubt the same help would be so forth coming.
Regrettably, I speak from bitter experience. I left Malaysia when I was a 20 year old lad and I know what I am talking about. I will be among the first to be appalled if Kamal is not allowed to pray as a Muslim. It certainly is not the Australian way to obstruct the another bloke's religious beliefs. Is it just a question of Kamal not being allowed to pray or is there more than meets the eye. Not allowing Kamal to pray is one thing, making facilities available like a prayer room is quite another. I do not demand that my employer provide a place for me to say my Rosary etc., during my lunch hour. Albeit there is a chapel at the place where I work. In a Muslim dominated country is there a Chapel for Christians in the workplace?
I notice that Muslims find refuge in Christian countries when persecuted by their own, however when the source of trouble is removed and they are back in their own, a different story emerges. The late Ayahtollah is a good example. Look at how much of trouble he gave to the West when he came to power. He forgot that it was where he sought refuge in the first place.
Returning to Muslims in our work place, I believe a line must be drawn. No vilification of anyone because of their religion must be tolerated. Bending backwards to accommodate and pander is quite another. We have so many Religions practised in Australia, do we then start to make sure there are Sikh temples, Hindu temples, Buddhist temples, Taoist temples, Jewish Synagogues, Baha'i Temples, Seven Day Adventist Prayer Halls, Mormon Temples, etc., in our Workplaces. The various Christian denominations canfill a page. Our Aboriginal Citizens also have different religions among themselves and each (religion) is so different, can we possibly accommodate each and every one of them. It may appear a landmark appeal and case won.
It was even sensational. Remember, however, the trade union is opening a Pandora's box.
I conclude by stating that protecting a worker's right to religion is important. I am grateful as a union member to know that a worker's right to practise a religion will be protected. What was done however should be a one off situation.
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