Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Monthly Archives: April 2022

Message for the Celebration of the Golden Rule Day – April 5, 2022

5 Apr, 2022

Message from Ambassador Mussie Hailu* of URI, a partner of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

Dear Colleagues,

As we are celebrating the Golden Rule Day on April 5, I want to present you greetings of peace and blessings on behalf of members of United Religions Initiative (URI) from all over the world and want to say to our Muslim brothers and Sisters, Ramadan Kareem.

For a culture of peace, inter-religious & inter-cultural harmony, respect among nations, human dignity and social justice to prevail on Earth, it is high time to promote the teaching of the Golden Rule throughout the world and introduce it in the school curriculum as part of education for peace.

Our wellbeing increasingly depends on how well we interact and live together with others based on the teaching of the Golden Rule which says “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

In this interrelated world we need the Golden Rule more than ever as it is a fundamental human value needed today as the basis for peaceful co-existence, Compassion, Social Justice and Human Dignity.

To treat others like we want to be treated requires a constant active consideration of how our words and actions affect others. By putting this time-honored principle into daily practice, and asking our friends, families and leaders to do the same, we can work toward creating a greater understanding,  respect for one another and promote  a culture of peace and interfaith harmony.

The Golden Rule will help us to appreciate both our differences and the common values that bind us to one another. It helps us to recognize pluralism and respect diversity.

As you know our shrinking “global village” is evolving into a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society and in this interconnected world, the peoples of all nations are our close neighbors and our well being increasingly depends on how well we interact and live together based on the teaching of the Golden Rule as the Golden Rule is the roadmap to build peaceful co-existence, social cohesion, harmony, human dignity and secure a better future for this generation and generation yet to come.

Among the many reasons why we need to celebrate the Golden Rule Day and live accordingly every day in our life and pay due attention for the teaching of the Golden Rule is because:

  • – It calls us to extend our concern beyond ourselves and to embrace a greater understanding and respect for others
  • – It is the roadmap for inter-religious and inter-cultural harmony
  • – It is the pathway for peaceful co-existence, harmony, equality and promoting human right, mutual respect, dignity, compassion and unity in diversity
  • – It is affirmed in many religions, traditions, indigenous cultures and secular philosophies as a fundamental principle of life and the foundation on which a global ethic is founded
  • – It is a universal message which is accepted throughout the world
  • – Its message is simple, universal and powerful
  • – It is the most prevalent and universal moral principle in human history
  • – It summarizes the basic teaching of compassion, non-violence, respect, and honoring the dignity of all living beings.
  • – It is the best guide we have to help peoples of the world to live together in mutual respect and harmony
  • – It is a way to disarm fear, to open the world for better change and to lay the foundations for lasting peace
  • – It is a preventive mechanism and antidote to discrimination, disrespect, greedy, violence, crime, hate speech and incitement which leads to war and the violation of human right
  • – It is the best way to counter violent extremism, radicalization and xenophobia
  • – It transcends our differences and encourages us to consider the well-being of all life forms on Earth and it helps to recognize pluralism and respect diversity

It is with this in mind that, in 2007, the United Religions Initiative-Africa and Interfaith Peace-building Initiative (IPI) a URI CC based in Ethiopia declared April 5 as a “Golden Rule Day” and called upon all citizens of the world, religious leaders, Mayors, heads of state, the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States, interfaith organizations, schools, higher learning institutions, the business community, civil society and all other stakeholders to join URI-Africa and IPI in proclaiming April 5 as Golden Rule Day and to live accordingly to make this world a better and peaceful for all. I am so happy to inform you that since then about 900 organizations in 170 countries have joined us in proclaiming the Golden Rule Day. Since 2007 more than 4 million copies of the Golden Rule poster have been distributed throughout the world by URI-Africa.

In addition to this, in 2007 we also started the Golden Rule Goodwill Ambassador program to highlight and promote the Golden Rule. Since 2007 every year we honor individuals or organizations who set a good example for the teaching of the Golden Rule with the Golden Rule Medal, Plague and appoint them as a Goodwill Ambassador of Golden Rule.

For new ways to unfold before us, for tears to bathe wounds of war, for hatred to soften into harmony, for greed to turn to generosity each of us need to be the change we want to see in the world and live according to the teaching of the Golden Rule as world peace is only possible when we start to make peace within ourselves, our families and in our respective communities.

As citizens of the world, we need to open our hearts and minds to understand the uniqueness of each one of us and to pour out the spirit of love, compassion, forgiveness and living for the sake of other so that our hearts will open more and our minds will understand the depth of our call as human being living in the 21st century. We need to avoid violence in all its forms and stand up for a culture of peace by making the Golden Rule the first article of our faith and the last article of our creed.

Each of us needs to commit ourselves as best as we can to become nonviolent and to make personal pledges to peace and to be instruments of peace.

Let us walk the talk by taking practical action and live according to the principle of Golden Rule in our daily life.

Let us support the initiative of Karen Armstrong “Charter for Compassion” which is the base for the Golden Rule.

May Peace, Golden Rule and Compassion Prevail in our Heart, Mind, Family, Community, Country and the World.

May Peace Prevail on Earth!

In peace and gratitude,

  • Amb. Mussie Hailu
  • Director of Global Partnership &
  • Representative to African Union & United Nations
  • Regional Director for Africa
  • United Religions Initiative

* Ambassador Mussie Hailu is a peace builder who is working at national, regional and international level in promoting a culture of peace, the teaching of the Golden Rule, reconciliation, interfaith & inter-cultural harmony, human dignity, disarmament, compassion for animals, building right human relationship, constructive dialogue, environmental protection and building bridges for international cooperation for the common good of all humanity and Mother Earth. Currently he serves as Director of Global Partnership and Representative of the United Religions Initiative to the United Nations and the African Union.

12 best practices for Ramadan at work

2 Apr, 2022

Quoted from: Neil Payne, A best-practice guide for HR professionals on how to support employees observing Ramadan in 2022. HRZone – 21st Mar 2022

In 2022, Ramadan will begin on 2nd April and end on 1st May (depending on moon sightings).

  1. 1. Establish when Ramadan is approaching and who this could affect at work. Muslims will not mind if asked about the upcoming month and without having to be direct, one should be able to know whether or not they will be fasting.

  2. 2. Ensure all staff that work with Muslim colleagues are aware of what fasting entails and how this could impact someone. Fasting 17 hours a day is not easy and colleagues need to appreciate how this can translate into behaviour and working practices.

  3. 3. If shift work is the norm, look at any changes that can be made to offer those fasting the opportunity to swap shifts or change their working hours in a way that suits all parties.

  4. 4.For those in 9-5 roles, consider flexitime options for start and finish times. See if allowances can be made for people to work lunch hours and breaks in return for an earlier finish. Given the current circumstances, with many employees working from home, it should be easier for employers to allow greater flexibility for Muslim employees who are fasting.

  5. 5. Asking a Muslim to attend a lunch meeting or a Friday ‘wind-down’ drinks party (even if it is an online video meetup) demands a lot of them. Many may politely agree, as will many decline. Be understanding of those that do not feel comfortable sitting and watching people eat and drink.

  6. 6. Make special allowances for Muslims to take a break at sunset to break their fast if they are front-line workers and still happen to be on shift. This needs to be ample time to break their fast, pray and then eat properly.

  7. 7. If your organisation has a canteen for workers, try and arrange for some meals to be saved for people fasting so they are not left choice less at the end of their day.

  8. 8. Avoid booking in meetings for the afternoon. If high concentration levels are needed from people, don’t expect this after lunchtime. Use the morning when people are still relatively fresh.

  9. 9. Do not expect people to commit to evening events, even if they are just online video meetups. The evenings are dedicated to eating, prayers and potentially virtual gatherings within the family and wider community.

  10. 10. Be prepared for people to take between 1-5 days holiday at the end of Ramadan to celebrate Eid. This has the emotional equivalent to Christmas and is the one time of the year whole families and neighbourhoods usually get together to share presents and good food, however it is likely to be a very different celebration this year due to the pandemic.

  11. 11. For fasting team members who are working remotely, work out time differences and how their daily routine will impact you in terms of meetings, deadlines, SLAs, etc.

  12. 12. Try and use Ramadan as a platform for greater understanding and improving team dynamics. Why not throw a virtual or in-person iftar one evening and allow people to share a part of their lives with colleagues?

Religious diversity: Corporate obstacle? Or asset? (RNS)

1 Apr, 2022

Some US companies are embracing religious diversity as good for people and for business.

April 1, 2022 | Kathryn Post | RNS

(RNS) — For decades, there has been an unspoken ban on religious discussion in the workplace. And no wonder: Deeply held beliefs, not to mention religious dress or practices, can become a powder keg in corporate lunchrooms no less than at family gatherings.

But thanks to the nation’s expanding religious diversity and the recent surge in workplace diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, the business world’s unofficial taboo on religion might be waning. A growing contingent of businesses have begun talking about religion as an asset, rather than a divider.

Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation, told Religion News Service that “every week” he hears from a new Fortune 100 company asking how to approach religious diversity in the workplace. “There’s been a massive change in the past three to five years in some of the world’s biggest and best companies towards embracing religion as part of their overall diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives,” said Grim.

(read full article on RNS)