Muslim Prayer Complaint

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Officials with a Grand Island meatpacking plant say 86 people have been fired after walking off the job amid a prayer dispute.

A spokeswoman with JBS Swift and Company says the workers were fired Friday after repeatedly leaving work without authorization. They had been warned. She declined to discuss any other details.

But Somali-American advocate Mohamed Rage says 150 people were fired. He says 80 of them had been thrown out of the plant after a disruption late Thursday.

The plant has seen tension building in recent weeks. It culminated this week with multiple protests and hundreds of people walking off the job. Muslims say they want time to pray at sunset and others say they shouldn't get special treatment.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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