The end of Ramadan is today and devout Muslims filled the nearby sports stadium and its parking lot this morning for some sort of celebratory service. More of their cars filled our work parking lot and the grass and sand surrounding it, some all the way from Alberta and B.C. The police came in, too. All the cars were parked illegally; there are signs up around the parking lots at the library indicating those areas are for employees and patrons only. Some in our work area have put notes on the calendar for the next Muslim holidays in case it becomes necessary to call the cops again. This was not the first time we’d had this problem, either.
I’m not sure how many cars ultimately got dinged. I heard seventeen, but there had to be double that number taking up our space and getting in the way of those who arrived at work later. When some car owners were told they’d have to move their vehicles, staff were accused of being racist. One reportedly said something like, “You pray for us at Christmas, we shouldn’t get tickets when it’s Ramadan.” I’m not sure I’m quoting it correctly, but it was something that illogical. Who cares when you pray and to whom. You break city parking laws, you get tickets. No matter what religion you follow, that’s a fact.
Later at lunch people were chatting about what had gone on and someone who’d gone over to the stadium for a workout came back with word that an NDP politician (likely Muslim, but I never heard a name) had been over there passing out pamphlets. I don’t recall precisely what that staff member said but she wasn’t impressed by that and I think she called it something like “morally reprehensible behaviour!” She was quite irate.
The minion part of me was itching to pipe up, “Would it still be reprehensible if it were a Catholic politician handing stuff out after Mass?” I really couldn’t tell if she meant mixing politics with religion was appalling, or if it was specifically appalling to see a Muslim doing it. In the end, the “keep your head down” part of me won out. It’s one thing to wear a Darwin shirt to work, but another to get religiously snippy around superiors.