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Value System

You have to accommodate employees' "sincerely held" beliefs, religious or not.

This story appears in the March 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In the weeks after September 11, Muslim women in hijab head scarves, bearded Sikhs in turbans and Arabic-looking people all across America reported harassment from fellow citizens who equated them with terrorists. According to the Washington, DC-based Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslims had reported 226 incidents of physical assault or property damage by October 25 and 105 instances of discrimination in the workplace.

The president and other leaders urged Americans to remember that the problem was not Islam itself. Apparently that message made it through to some people. CAIR reported a surprising level of support for Muslim Americans from their co-workers--including many who have apologized for their initial outbursts. Being kind to people of different faiths is becoming the patriotic thing to do.

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