Mahrukh Ali Aziz, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion coordinator at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, has thoughts on the problematic issue of employment during the 30-day period of Ramadan.
“If you have self-identified Muslim colleagues, it is important to acknowledge the month of Ramadan when it’s coming up. The first thing is to communicate and to educate so as a leader in your organization, it’s best to send out an email informing the whole staff to be aware of the upcoming month.”
“One thing that is very important is that you provide inclusive flexibility. What that means is allow flexible working hours, check in with your staff, talk to them, and ask them what best fits their timings.”
In other words, an expectation of full adaptation on the part of Canadian employers. Wouldn’t it be nice if all Canadian workers received such special treatment.
“If they want to take some time to pray, especially if they’re on their shift and their break time doesn’t fall when they have to break their fast, give them that time slot to break their fast and to pray.”
Let us consider the fact that the company is paying their employees to work for them, and not the other way around. Generally, it is incumbent on workers to adapt to company policy. According to Mahrukh Ali Aziz, a special privilege should exist for those wishing to practice religious rituals at their workplace.
At the core of such demands is the notion of social equality. On this basis, Cultural Action Party offer a solution. In the name of community equality, let’s reduce Ramadan from 30 days to a single day. It is the case for the two main Christian holidays of Easter and Christmas. Fair is fair– let’s make the change.
All consternation regarding employment and religious ritual can be resolved. Followers of a faith can celebrate in any way they like, for as long as they like, but the Employer’s Equity status of Ramadan remains a one-day affair.
Simple, and effective. Unfortunately, such flexibility is not in the cards. And why should it be? The presumption of Mahrukh Ali Aziz serves as a microcosm for multiculturalism within society. It is not incumbent upon special interest communities to adapt to the majority population. The expectation is, in fact, the opposite.
The reason for this is found in the principles of Multicultural policy. As entrenched into society in the early 1970’s by PM Pierre Trudeau, multiculturalism serves as an inversion of traditional social standards. It is the vehicle by which Canada transitioned to a nation in which the minority control the majority. Never has this dynamic been so blatant as under the leadership of current PM Justin Trudeau.
Take transgender rights as an example. Fair to estimate that 1-2% of Canadians qualify as transsexual. Despite the statistics, LGBT and its transgender sub-category have evolved into a human rights powerhouse. The same can be said for specific religious communities. How social movements as incongruous as transgenderism and fundamentalist religion became aligned is quite the mystery– though CAP has definite theories on this subject.
At the heart of the matter is an issue of flexibility. Being conditioned to receive all that is desired, “special interest” Canada does not experience that which the rest of us have on a daily basis: the answer “no.” Interesting to note a lack of appreciation. Never do the movements show the slightest gratitude for Canada’s accomodation to their needs.
It’s always “not good enough, “more must be done” and that old stand-by “this is racism.”
The University of Saskatchewan’s Muslim Student Association tell us the university isn’t doing enough to accommodate students who observe Ramadan:
“The holy month of Ramadan begins this weekend. During Ramadan practising Muslims will fast between sunrise and sunset, among other things. We need to give students the option to delay the examination [until] after Ramadan,” said association president Abdirahman Ali.
Note a consistency in attitude. Once again, the expectation is one of adaptation toward a tiny sliver of the community– the student body at University of Saskatchewan. How to resolve the problem? The solution is simple: establish an equal playing field for Canada’s major religious communities.
One day for Easter, Christmas and Ramadan. After all, Justin Trudeau tell us that Canada is a “progressive” society. Progress means change, flexibility, adaptation. Let’s see that progress in action. Reduce Ramadan to a single day holiday–problem solved.