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15th-Jun-2008 11:59 am - On the job, their way
By CHRIS SERRES, Star Tribune

Fatuma Hassan has just enough rice in her near-empty cupboards to make it through the month. The anger she felt when she lost her job in May has given way to a dull, nagging hunger.

Yet this soft-spoken 22-year-old became an unlikely hero within the Somali community when she and five of her Muslim co-workers were dismissed last month from the Mission Foods tortilla factory in New Brighton for refusing to wear a new company uniform -- a shirt and pants -- they consider a violation of their Islamic beliefs.

"For me, wearing pants is the same as being naked," Hassan said, noting the prophet Mohammed taught that men and women should not dress alike. "My culture, my religious beliefs, are more important than a uniform."

Over the past century, Minnesota has seen waves of immigrants from Germany, Sweden, Norway and Laos, among other nations, and each group managed to move up the ladder of prosperity despite some initial doubts about their ability to integrate.

Yet nearly two decades after a violent civil war brought thousands of Somali refugees to the Twin Cities, their integration in the U.S. workplace is becoming more contentious.

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By VANESSA ARRINGTON, Associated Press Writer

They came as young men and women, and never left.

Elderly Chinese immigrants still walk the streets of Havana's "Barrio Chino," or Chinatown, where they play mahjong and eat lunch together, practice tai chi and read magazines from their homeland.

There are just 143 natives of China currently registered in Havana — most of them men, according to Cristina Nip, a descendant who runs Chinatown's social work program. After decades on the Caribbean island, they say they feel just as Cuban as Chinese.

"Equal parts both," said 70-year-old Julio Li, whose name itself reflects the blend. "I speak Spanish, and I speak Chinese. I drink Cuban rum, and Chinese tea."

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16th-Jan-2006 09:01 pm(no subject)
Dutch MPs to decide on burqa ban

The Dutch government will announce over the next few weeks whether it will make it a crime to wear traditional Islamic dress which covers the face apart from the eyes.

The Dutch parliament has already voted in favour of a proposal to ban the burqa outside the home, and some in the government have thrown their weight behind it.

There are only about 50 women in all of the Netherlands who do cover up entirely - but soon they could be breaking the law.

Dutch MP Geert Wilders is the man who first suggested the idea of a ban.

"It's a medieval symbol, a symbol against women," he says.

"We don't want women to be ashamed to show who they are. Even if you have decided yourself to do that, you should not do it in Holland, because we want you to be integrated, assimilated into Dutch society. If people cannot see who you are, or see one inch of your body or your face, I believe this is not the way to integrate into our society."

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15th-Nov-2005 03:12 pm - Minorities break 'class barrier'
By Dominic Casciani, BBC News community affairs

Young people from working class ethnic minorities tend to out-perform their white counterparts, says a report.

Research into 140,000 children over 30 years found immigrant families breaking through class barriers, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said.

Half of children from Indian working class families went into professional or managerial posts, compared with 43% of white children, it found.

But Pakistani and Bangladeshi children did worse than some white children.

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