||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?
Workmates Back Kamalís Right to Pray
Kamalís employer, TPG, has also agreed to withdraw two warnings they issued during his dispute over his right to perform prayers at work.
"I think it's a good outcome," says El-Masri, a member of the Australian Workers Union.
"If somebody wants to do a religious act at work and it has to be done it should be done. If they do they're going to be more loyal, more trustworthy, more productive and more energetic."
El-Masri advised anyone in the same situation to "not back down." "This is a free country. Everyone's equal in the sight of everyone else. You have the right to stand up for yourself."
ASU assistant branch secretary Sally McManus is happy that the dispute has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.
"Mr El-Masri can perform his prayers and make up the time, as he has always done," says McManus.
But a downside has been that both the ASU and El-Masri have continued to receive abusive and threatening calls, with the Bali bombing making this situation worse.
"Too many people do not understand that the vast majority of Muslims find the killing of innocent people absolutely at odds with their religion," says McManus. El-Masri agrees: "Anyone who commits such a crime cannot call themselves a Muslim".
"I am reminded that when Timothy McVeigh, a fundamentalist Christian committed the atrocity in Oklahoma, all Christians were not blamed for what occurred," says McManus. "We cannot let Muslim Australians be blamed for what they also condemn and allow division to cause hatred in our own community.
"What this dispute shows is that with understanding on both sides there can be respect for someone's religion and the needs of business. More importantly the support of Mr El-Masri's workmates shows that workplace harmony can be achieved when workers lead the way."
CFMEU supports Bali victims
Meanwhile, the National Office of the CFMEU Construction Division has announced that it would donate $25,000 to the Red Cross Appeal for the victims of the Bali bombing.
The CFMEU has been alerted to the tragic death of one CFMEU member and the wife of a delegate in the bombing.
National Secretary John Sutton says the union extended its condolences to families of all the victims and that the $25,000 would be the start of a fund-raising exercise at building sites around Australia.
"Many working Australians and their families have enjoyed holidays in Bali and our hearts go out to families and communities who have been devastated by this terrible act against innocent people," Sutton says.
"We will be urging building workers around the country to hold site meetings and to pass around the hat for donations for the families."
The union is also calling on building employers and contractors to match the money raised by union members.
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