Islamic group sues over workplace prayer

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- An Islamic group is suing a Wisconsin manufacturer alleging it failed to accommodate 19 Muslim employees who wanted to take prayer breaks during work time.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Green Bay Wednesday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations wants the Ariens Co. to rehire the former employees and give them back pay and damages. The plaintiffs also want the Brillion lawn mower manufacturer to reinstate a religious accommodation policy allowing the employees to take short breaks for prayers.

The Journal Sentinel reports Jaylani Hussein, director of the council's Minnesota chapter, says Ariens forced the Muslim employees to choose between their faith and their employment.

Aries said in a statement it was surprised and disappointed by the lawsuit because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated the allegations several months ago and dismissed the complaint.

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