HAMBURG, N.Y. — Wal-Mart has fired an employee of a western New York store after he posted derogatory comments about Muslim customers on Facebook.
The firing follows a request by the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Wal-Mart to discipline the assistant manager of the store in Hamburg, a suburb of Buffalo.
Terry Earsing, then an assistant manager, posted a photo of two women in traditional dress as they shopped at his Buffalo-area store and wrote profanity-laced criticisms beneath it. Earsing has apologized for what he calls a joke.
Along with a picture of Muslim women in traditional dress, the manager’s expletive-filled posting read: “Halloween came early this year. … Do they really have to … dress like that.”
A spokeswoman for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says company officials looked into the posting immediately upon learning about it and fired the employee.
A member of the local Muslim community spotted the comment and informed the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which in turn alerted Walmart executives.
Chris Vogel, Houston Press
Mohammed Zakaria Memon just wanted to wash up. To just splash a little water over his face, hands, head and feet before a quick prayer five times a day in accordance with his Muslim religion.
All Mohammed Zakaria Memon wanted to do was pray five times a day while working as an IT consultant for Wal-Mart in their Arkansas-based corporate offices. But this rite of Islam was allegedly unacceptable to Wal-Mart, according to a lawsuit filed by Memon, who lost his job and is now seeking damages from both the retail chain and his former employer, Deloitte Consulting LLP.
According to Memon’s complaint, the 59-year-old Pakistani-American citizen was first told he could only pray in the hallways or outside in the parking lot. So, in order to not lose too much time from his work, he began performing the washing ritual (known in Urdu as Wazu) required before every prayer, inside Wal-Mart’s men’s room.
But some employees complained about the washing, leading Deloitte to tell Memon he couldn’t do it. After he explained the importance of the Wazu, his employer instructed him to only pray at his hotel, which was
too far away to be a practical solution. After that, Memon was told Wal-Mart was restructuring the project and that he and several other Deloitte consultants would no longer work at the retail headquarters. But, according to his lawsuit, only Memon was taken off the job.
In *Minnesota, meanwhile, the local chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations *announced in July that Wal-Mart would rehire Zahra Aljabri, who had been fired for praying during breaks at work.
On Tuesday, April 7, the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will hold a news conference to call for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release former USF student Youssef Megahed.
In April 2007 Megahed, along with Ahmed Mohamed, was arrested for allegedly having explosives in the trunk of his car. Mohamed pleaded guilty last Friday to the charges and is serving a 15-year prison sentence, while Megahed was acquitted and freed from custody.
ICE took Megamed back into custody while he was shopping with his father at a local Wal-Mart. They have accused him of “civil violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act” and have placed him in deportation proceedings. He must present his case to an immigration judge to be freed from the charges.
The world’s largest retailer has opened an innovative new supercenter in Dearborn, Michigan. Wal-Mart’s new 200,000 square foot store will offer a special line of products geared towards the American Muslim and Arab American communities in the Detroit metro area, which is home to one of the largest communities of Arabs and Muslims in the United States. The store offers a variety of Middle Eastern food such as tahini, olive, traditional spices, and halal meat section. The store, which is still in the hiring process, presently employs about thirty-five Arab Americans. Many local business members are, however, worried. “There is a fear factor in the business community,” says Osama Siblani, publisher of Dearborn’s Arab American News. The fear rests on Wal-Mart’s all-in-one store and slogan of low prices will make prosperity difficult for many local business in the area. Wal-mart has agreed to make a promise not to undercut the prices of small local stores, and agreed to be examined by a community advisory board made up of local Arab-American leaders, to make sure that it isn’t endangering mom and pop shops. For example, Wal-Mart agreed to charge one dime more than local grocers for a package of pita bread.
Lu Gronseth listens regularly to WWTC, a conservative talk-radio station in Minneapolis, and even advertises his mortgage-loan business on the station. But when he learned that a nationally syndicated radio show host had told WWTC listeners that Muslims should be deported and made rude comments about what they could do with their religion, Mr. Gronseth pulled his ads from the station. So have at least two other Minnesota businesses, at the urging of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., as have a handful of national companies, including OfficeMax, JCPenney, Wal-Mart, and AT&T. But the comments by host Michael Savage in October – and previous anti-Muslim speech – have not created the furor that knocked radio icon Don Imus off of MSNBC and CBS Radio after he denigrated a black women’s basketball team. That leaves many Muslims-Americans – and non-Muslims like Mr. Gronseth – suspicious that Americans have a double standard when it comes to Islam.