Greeley, Colorado Christian Zionist Group Protest Somali-Imposed Sharia in their Community

by Jerry Gordon (August 2009)


On Saturday, August 8th, a Greeley, Colorado pro-Israel Christian Zionist group,
The Celebration Congregation will protest a Somali effort to impose Sharia in this Front Range community in the foothills of the Rockies. They are doing this to take a stand against creeping Islamization in their home community and America. They have done this before in protests against anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian groups at a Denver area Presbyterian Church and the University of Denver in 2005 and 2006.

Greeley, Colorado, as Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize winning author of
“The Looming Tower” has written, is the birthplace of Al Qaeda.  That is where in 1948, an Egyptian foreign exchange student, Sayyid Qutb, was so offended by American culture, especially ‘obscene’  close slow dancing which he witnessed at a Church social, that he resolved to fight it by returning to the roots of Jihadist Political Islam and Sharia. His book "Milestones” chronicled his spiritual epiphany in Greeley. Subsequently he was jailed, tried and hung by the late Egyptian President and dictator, Gamal Abdel Nasser. His writing was the foundation of what became the Al Qaeda movement headed by Osama bin Laden, the perpetrator of 9/11.

So it is ironic that the legacy of Qutb has returned to Greeley in the form of Somali immigrant workers at the JBS Swift & Company meat packing plant there. Somalis are employed in a chain of meat packing plants that stretches across the Front Range and includes heartland communities in Fort Morgan, Colorado and Grand Island and Lexington in Western Nebraska. Major meat packing employers include JBS Swift & Company, Cargill and Tyson Foods.

The National Center for Counterterrorism in
testimony before the US Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee estimates that there are upwards of 200,000 Somalis in the US. They reside in major centers like Minneapolis, Minnesota, Columbus, Ohio and Seattle, Washington, as well as smaller communities like Greeley, Grand Island and Lexington. We have written about the public health and cultural shock of Somalis in Emporia, Kansas and Shelbyville, Tennessee. These Somalis were brought to the US under the auspices of UN High Commissioner for Refugees which effectively controls the US humanitarian refugee program. Through a network of federally funded state social service refugee programs and contracts with volunteer agencies a veritable cottage industry has been created to provide absorption, public health care and welfare support.

After one year, green cards are provided for employment and ultimately US citizenship is guaranteed.

Somalis have been the most conflict-prone of refugee groups admitted under these federally-sponsored programs. There is
evidence of massive immigration fraud originating in refugee camps in Kenya. There have also been allegations of fraud and misuse of federal Medicaid and minority health programs in Minneapolis and Nashville, Tennessee. However, the most stunning development has been the recruitment of American Somali youths as Jihadis who return to Somalia to join with al Qaeda affiliate Al Shabaab. Some of those home grown terrorists may have come back to America and constitute a real and growing threat here. The same phenomenon is happening in Australia. A few of these would-be shaheeds have been murdered in Somalia by the very group they sought to join, Al-Shabaab.

Federal prosecutors in Minneapolis have been
investigating recruitment at radical Mosques in Minneapolis with several pending possible indictments. The Minnesota ACLU chapter has taken the unusual step of suing a predominately Somali taxpayer funded charter school, the Tarek ibn Zayed Academy (TiZA) for violation of the construction clause of the First Amendment on separation of church (mosque in this case) and state. This charter school is in the Inver Heights school district. TiZA is controlled by a Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Muslim American Society, one of whose  Imams was allegedly involved in the Al Shabaab Jihadi recruitment.

The Greeley protest has been launched because of evidence that Somali workers endeavored to impose Sharia compliance on their workplace at JBS Swift & Company. Their activities have disrupted relations with non-Muslim, largely Hispanic employees and supervisors, and threaten disruption in the community. These Somali worker demands have been aided by so-called community organizers and labor union groups. The federal and state refugee resettlement programs have bolstered Somali indifference to assimilation through the establishment of taxpayer-funded ethnic community-based organizations.

Our colleague, Ann Corcoran of the of
Refugee Resettlement Watch (RRW) has chronicled the confrontation with Sharia demands of Somali meat packing workers in Greeley and spillover effects at similar companies in Grand Island, Nebraska, where Somalis organized to “fire” the Mayor.

It all started with the disruptions caused by firings of Somali workers at the JBS Swift & Company Greeley plant during Ramadan in September, 2008 culminating with filings under the US civil rights law in June of this year. Here is the background.
From the Greeley Tribune:

A week-long dispute between JBS Swift & Co. and hundreds of Muslim workers seeking Ramadan prayer accommodations flared into firings of about 100 workers Wednesday afternoon.

Some said they will take legal action against the company, and a spokesman for United Food Commercial Workers Local 7, which represents production workers at Swift, said the union will file a grievance for any worker who wants his or her job back.
 
The workers had been off the job since early evening Friday, when about 220 of them walked off mid-shift, claiming they weren't being given breaks at a previously agreed to time. All the workers were notified they were being suspended.
 
A JBS Swift official on Wednesday said via email correspondence that the company upheld an agreement made with the workers and that the Friday walkout was a "direct violation of our collective bargaining agreement."
 
Relayed through a group of Muslim leaders, JBS Swift officials told the workers early Tuesday afternoon that if they didn't return to work for that day's second shift, they'd be fired.
 
About 120 Muslim workers returned to work Tuesday. The roughly 100 remaining who didn't report until Wednesday were handed termination papers as soon as they arrived, around 3:30 p.m.
 
 
The issue arose on Sept. 2 when Muslim employees asked management to accommodate a break at the end of their daily fasting for Ramadan, which began Sept. 1. They wanted a break at 7:30 p.m. -- about 90 minutes earlier than the usual mid-shift breaks at 9:15 p.m.
 
The Muslim workers said JBS Swift officials agreed to the request and would begin it later in the week. They said when they left for breaks around 7:30 p.m. Friday supervisors told them to stay on their lines.
 
They said bathrooms were locked to them and drinking fountains shut off. They walked off the job, being told they were suspended.
 
"The people got fired because they walked out on Friday night because the company didn't let them pray," said Abdul.
 
An AP report noted where some of the dismissed Somali workers went to find employment: "…. Some of the workers have already begun looking for jobs at the Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Fort Morgan, about 55 miles east of Greeley, according to the Colorado State Refugee Services Program."
 
Earlier, in another Greeley Tribune report on September 6th, 100 JBS Swift & Co. employees protested management accommodations to Somali worker demands.
 
About 100 employees, some of whom were supposed to be working, protested company officials accommodating Muslims by moving their break time to accommodate those fasting for Ramadan, a Muslim holy month. The company allowed Muslim workers to take their breaks about an hour earlier than normal to break their fasts.
 
The peaceful crowd milled about behind the plant gates signifying its frustration.
 
"They have no respect for the Spanish or white people," said Brianna Castillo, a Swift employee of four years. "Many times we are forced to pull extra count... I don't feel that is right."
 
Castillo, who is white, said every race was represented in the protest with the exception of Somalis. Castillo said employees are frustrated by what they feel is a double standard when it comes to other races and Somalis.
 
"Somalis are running our plant," Castillo said. "They are telling us what to do."
 
Fast forward to this June, and we see evidence that JBS Swift & Co. in Greeley like other meatpackers across the heartland has ‘accommodated’ Somali workers demands, while community organizers have filed suit for discrimination under our civil rights laws in anticipation of another round of Ramadan protests later this month.
 
Note this from an RRW post:
 
Complaints center on alleged mistreatment by Hispanic supervisors, while Swift & Co. is scrambling to give the Somalis what they demand.  Apparently bidets for Somalis were not enough to satisfy them!
 
GREELEY — State and federal civil-rights officials are investigating claims that Somali workers at the JBS Swift Beef Co. meatpacking plant were mistreated.

Complaints have been filed with state officials and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said Steve Chavez, director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division.
Chavez met with Somalis in Greeley last week. He said federal officials are taking the lead on the investigation.
EEOC officials declined to comment.

Concerns surfaced last year after JBS managers refused to let late-shift Somalis pray at sunset during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Workers walked off the job, and more than 100 were fired. Somali workers have since claimed ongoing issues with their Latino supervisors, Chavez said.

“They believe they were treated differently because they were Somalis,” he said.

JBS spokesman Chandler Keys said the company has attempted to accommodate religious practices by installing foot washes in locker rooms for foot-cleansing prior to prayer and bidet-type spray devices on toilets to assist with cleansing after using the rest room.
 
There have been hygiene issues involving Somalis at Tyson's plant in Shelbyville also.

With this background in mind, we present an interview with Greeley protest leader, Michael Gale.
 
Gordon: Would you provide us with some background on your group in Greeley, Colorado?

Gale:
 We are more than 50 Patriotic Christian Zionists. We consider ourselves versed in Zionism. We make annual trips to Jerusalem and the West Bank. We have frequent Orthodox Jewish guest speakers here in Greeley from Jerusalem.

Gordon: What are your group’s concerns about the Somalis in Greeley?

Gale:
 We are concerned about Islamic Sharia Law coming to Greeley. We oppose all forms of Sharia in the US.
 
Gordon:
Why are you launching a protest against Somali-imposed Sharia in Greeley at this time?

Gale:
 It precedes the onset of Ramadan that begins this year on August 21st. The union and the management at the JBS Swift& Company plant in Greeley are trying to decide what to do about special prayer times during Ramadan.
 
 
Gordon: Do you have the requisite permits for this protest and who else might be joining?

Gale: We have a City of Greeley assembly permit from the Greeley Police Department. Most attendees at the protest will probably be from our group. However, other churches and organizations have been notified.

Gordon: What other issues has your group protested in the past?

Gale:
We have protested the Presbyterian USA Sabeel conference in Denver in 2005, the Gush Katif Gaza Disengagement, the MILA - Denver University pro-Palestinian event in 2006, and we have attended several other pro-Israel rallies including those at the State Capitol in Denver.

Gordon:
When did Somalis first become employed by JBS Swift & Company?

Gale:
About two years ago.
 
Gordon: Has the population of Somalis and/or other Muslim immigrants generally increased or do they see a decline in numbers since last year? 
 
Gale: The Somalis appear to be increasing. We estimate there are now about 1,000 Somalis in Greeley, a city of about 98,000. To our knowledge there is only one Somali-owned shop catering to Somalis in the community. There is a Somali community center that we understand gives Somali emigrants English language lessons.

Gordon: How many Somalis are employed there currently?

Gale:
Approximately 400

Gordon: How diverse is the JBS Swift & Company work force at the Greeley plant?

Gale:
 The plant work force is mostly Hispanic.

Gordon: Have there been any reports of problems between the Somali and non-Somalis at the Greeley JBS Swift & Company plant?

Gale:
 Yes, last year at Ramadan.

Gordon: To your knowledge what happened at JBS Swift & Company last year during Ramadan?

Gale:
Last year at Ramadan the police were called in because of violence between the Somalis and the non-Somalis at the plant. The Hispanics accused the Somalis of taking over the plant.
 
Gordon: Is the general community concerned about Somali insistence on Sharia at the JBS Swift & Company plant in Greeley?

Gale:
No, most people that I talk with don't have a clue as to what is going on.

Gordon: To your knowledge who may be supporting the Somali community intent on enforcing Sharia at the JBS Swift & Company plant?

Gale:
 Possibly Lutheran Family Services.

Gordon: Were you aware of the irony that Al Qaeda got its start in Greeley?

Gale:
Yes, that is a dark side to the history of the town when an Egyptian exchange student Sayyid Qutb came here around the late 1940’s to attend what is now the University of Northern Colorado. Amazing that from his dislike of American society sprang the roots of Al Qaeda.

Gordon: What do you hope will be the outcome of Friday’s protest in Greeley?

Gale:
 We hope to raise awareness of the issues concerning Sharia with people here in Northern Colorado and perhaps all over the US.

We want to let the Moslems know that the people here will not tolerate Sharia.

We want to let the non-Moslems at JBS Swift & Company know that they are not alone in their concern about Sharia at the plant.

We want to let JBS Swift & Company know that the people here do not support special rules for Moslems.

We want to let CAIR know that people in the US will stand up to them.



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