Ontario government officials say the success of an employee guide to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has prompted other publications for workers who celebrate Diwali, Christmas and Easter.
A “Ramadan: the Muslim Month of Fasting” guide was issued to 67,000 Ontario government workers last July telling them to be “sensitive” to Muslim co-workers because they are fasting and praying from dusk to dawn. The document advises managers to provide a safe room for Muslims to pray and that they may require to make more trips to the bathroom to wash before they pray. They are required to pray five times a day.
Jason Wesley, of the Ministry of Government Services, said similar publications have been sent to workers “explaining the significance of the Jewish observances of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur”. Wesley said guides to mark the Hindu festival of Diwali and Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter are planned for release.
The guide has sparked concerns from non-Muslim government workers who claim they’re being discriminated against.
“There should be no religion whatsoever in public offices,” Meyer Weinstein of the Jewish Defence League said. “They (Ontario government) are turning the workplace into a three-ring circus.”
The JDL, Canadian Hindu Advocacy and several Christian groups are calling for an end to Muslim students praying in the cafeteria with an imam on some Fridays at Valley Park Middle School on Overlea Blvd.
“The Muslims are being given preferential treatment in schools and offices,” said Advocacy director Ron Banerjee. “The other religions were thrown in as window dressing for the Muslim prayers.”
Quite who these non-Muslim workers who feel they’ve been discriminated against might be is unclear. The source of this claim would appear to be Ron Bannerjee, who was quoted in an earlier report as saying that Hindu employees are “outraged” by the Ramadan guide. He added: “Other workers in the office will have to work twice as hard to pick up their slack. Muslim workers will require more time for their religion and other people will have to do their work.” The idea that Bannerjee is a reliable source on this issue is of course laughable.