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Firing of Muslim workers leads to discrimination case

MILWAUKEE - A civil liberties group says it plans to file federal discrimination and harassment complaints after a Wisconsin manufacturer fired seven Muslim employees for violating a company break policy that doesn't provide extra time for prayer.

Ariens Co. terminated the workers in a dispute that began last month when it moved to enforce a rule that allows two 10-minute breaks per work shift, leading dozens of Muslim staffers of Somali descent to walk off the job in protest.

Spokeswoman Ann Stilp says of the 53 employees involved, 32 have abided with the policy, 14 resigned and seven were terminated Tuesday. The firings were first reported by WLUK-TV in Green Bay.

Council for American-Islamic Relations spokesman Jaylani Hussein said the company could have made accommodations but chose not to.

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