When Must We Be Tolerant And When Are We Asking Too Much?

My friend related a story to me over the weekend…

His company employed a Muslim worker for the first time since the company started. The staff did well and got along well with the rest of the employees. Not long later, my friend employed another 3 more Muslim workers.

This is when things gets a bit complicated. The Muslim workers started asking for a prayer room and also longer lunch break on Fridays for them to attend Mosque. Not wanting to appear discriminating against them, my friend agreed and informed the team leader to re-distribute the workload on Friday so that the Muslims could go for prayer. The rest of the team members were then asked to double up. This cause a bit of morale problem within the company as others are unhappy because all are paid the same salary. Over time, the productivity of the team was noted to have gone down due to longer absence from duty.

The office also has a pantry where workers could use during their lunch break. This time, the Muslim workers asked if they could have their own fridge and microwave oven since the old one had been used for non-Halal food. Again, being religion sensitive, my friend agreed and bought new items for the pantry.

A year later, my friend noticed that there is clearly a separation in the company. There are different utensils and also washing items for Muslims.

At one point of time, the Muslims workers even asked if they could have a separate pantry which by now, my friend openly rejected the idea.

The workers explained that they felt their religion was not respected by others as they were using the common table cloth to clean the table after eating pork and the taps were oily (presumably lard) when they were using it. They asked if the management could stop other workers from bringing in pork/lard into the pantry and they are okay with other non-Halal food.

Now my friend is in a dilemma. While he respect the Muslim’s religious obligation, he does not want to impose other’s religious restriction and deprived other of their rights. He is wondering where should he stop?

Gordon Tay

*Article first appeared on https://www.facebook.com/gordon.tay.75/posts/972387889460449


Editor’s Note: 

Let’s refrain from making insulting comments on this issue. It is a real issue, which also applies to other religious customs and cultural customs too. Where do we draw the line between tolerance and over-demanding? It is important to be able to have open, logical discussions about such issues.


Source: www.therealsingapore.com

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