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Work relationship turned sour, I MEAN REAL SOUR!

Someone please give me some advice here. I have two work colleagues that work in my department, they worked along with each other very well for the past 3 years (both are Jewish).
Let us call them David and Joe (not their real names offcourse). 
Come the month of May 2004, David converts to Islam. Now, while people feel he is free to choose his beliefs, not so much with the case of Joe. This has resulted in a great deal of hostility from Joe, and has caused a great deal of anxiety and tension at the workplace. They are both bright and the department needs them.
By the way, I'm baptist by birth, but I consider myself a freethinker. I'm quite neutral on the issues they dicuss, which primarily happens to be political and at times religious.
They are both driving me nuts here. I guess David is not so bad, but he can't ignore Joe when he initiates heated and unneccessary arguments. It reached a climax yesterday when there was almost a fist fight, before we broke it up. I personally think that Joe really needs to relax and be more accepting/tolerent of diverse views. But that's my opinion
Please do not suggest that the department fires them, it doesnt seem like it's going to be happening anytime soon and the department seems to overlook it as trivial (unless there was any betrayal of intellectual property).
Can anyone propose any ideas?. They've been shifted away from each other, but the distance is not that great, and our office space is not that big either. I'm becoming so exhausted from being a god-damn mediator. Diplomacy wasn't part of my contract requirement.

Alex White
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

When did this forum turn into a group therapy session?

Matthew Lock
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Boss should give them both a written warning to tell them that their behaviour will not be tolerated in the work place.

Fothy
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I don't blame Alex, with all the chaos happening in the workplace these days, it's good to turn to a forum that discuss's I.T. and real human issues.
Take a tough stance with Joe, tell him to shut the f$#@ up!. If you can't do this, then discuss with him how bad productivity has been affected.

Gary H.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Lock them in a room together. The winner keeps his job, or alternatively they can both keep their jobs if they agree not to cause aggro at the workplace.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Is it my imagination, or is conversion to Islam becoming the latest trend?. The same deal at my workplace, this female employee followed the same route, she even decided to wear the scarf and changed her name from Lisa to Laila (out of her own free will, she was not even getting married to any muslim guy to justify it).

Karl the Curious
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

LOL, so true, they change their names to the closest sounding Islamic equivalent..
Billy to Bilal
Joseph to Yusef
Jacob to Yacob
etc ...

If you live here out in aussie land, it aint uncommon to come across blue eyed anglo aussies with such names. 

Sammy III
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Yeah like David Hicks.

Matthew Lock
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I would always find it so strange that a Jew would become a Muslim, until it actually did happen to a guy I know. About this time a year ago, he went from his orthodoxy into Islam with a passion.
Not surprisingly, his views on Israel changed as well.

Q-TIP
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Converts are always the worst. And that goes for converts to anything including those who give up smoking...

I'd give them written warnings like someone else suggested and tell them to keep their religions out of the office. They want to preach, they can go preach but the company isn't paying them to do it.

Katie Lucas
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Katie,
Any first disciples of the world great religion are always convert, therefore not all converts are the worst :)

Detroit the Titletown
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Ummm Paul of Tarsus...

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"I'd give them written warnings like someone else suggested and tell them to keep their religions out of the office. They want to preach, they can go preach but the company isn't paying them to do it. "

Katie, if I read correctly, I think  the impression I got from Alex's statement is that it is actually Joe that is the problem, not David (the convert one)

Q-TIP
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

> When did this forum turn into a group therapy session?

It's always been ;)

Daniel Tio
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Isn't it funny when people place religous significance on a name. Like Christians (although I am a 'born-again' Christian myself) who feel that their children should have a 'biblical' name, I have never understood that.

Is the name Yusef any more religous then Joseph? Basically it is just a language difference...

Aussie Chick
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Well, I'm a Muslim convert myself, and I didn't change my name. Then again, the name Adam is universally known to Judaism, Christianity and Islam :).

Adam - THE ORIGINAL MAN :)
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Would it be possible to get one (or both) to work from home ?

I agree with the written warning idea though, do that too.

Steve Jones (UK)
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Why does some people change religion? The new crowd has better God?
Is there money involved?
Could I make a career transfering from one church to another?

moronica
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

No accomodation at all should be made to their suddenly sour relationship.  Management should call both into the conference room and clearly express, in writing as well, that their behaviour is inappropriate for the workplace, and that if they can't get along, they'll accept their resignations.  Don't try laying down ground rules like "no talking about religion"--there's no reason to burden others with extra rules.  Simply put it to them that mature people get along well in the workplace despite their differences; immature people don't work here anymore.

This is one of those situations where it's tempting to try little fixes, liking moving one of them over by the door, or having one work from home, to smooth the waters; what ultimately results, though, is a bunch of perqs and accomodations that were earned by being difficult to work with.  Six months from now, when everyone hates both of them because they're still going at it, despite all the accomodations, one will end up fired anyway, and a lot more damage will have been done to group morale.

Justin Johnson
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I'm not sure disciplining them formally would help too much.  Also, if you discipline Joe and not the other guy then that will probably increase resentment even more.

I'm not sure the best way to handle it.  Maybe pull them aside one at a time and have a word or together.

Is it possible David has been winding up Joe but you haven't seen that?

I think you should threaten formal displining action before invoking it.  Hopefully the threat will be enough, but if it's not then you will have to do it.  Make sure you are prepared to follow through if necessary.

Steven
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Tell them to grow up.

anon
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Or, send them into a darkened closet together, each with half a brick.  The person who comes out with a whole brick wins!

Justin Johnson
Wednesday, June 16, 2004



Tell them that regardless of religious beliefs, if they want to keep their jobs,  they need to behave professionally.

KC
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"Or, send them into a darkened closet together, each with half a brick.  The person who comes out with a whole brick wins"

Two men enter, 1 man leave! :-P

Wisea**
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Do the Christian thing and stone the both of them.

Stoner
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"Why does some people change religion? The new crowd has better God? "

Or a worse Hell, for unbelievers.

Karl
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Hand them a loaded water pistol each and ask them to take it outside.  If one of them says that it is silly, look them dead in the eyes, smile and say "yes". 

a cynic writes...
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Recommend they just sleep together and get it over with.

name withheld out of cowardice
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

It used to be, and I mean as recently as the late 60s, that religion and politics were viewed as off-limits for discussions at work.

Now it's all I hear. Me, I'm pretty far to the left in today's political climate, and a church attending Christian who doesn't think you have to believe the Bible is literally true, so I keep my mouth shut as much as I can.

silence is golden
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

>It used to be, and I mean as recently as the late 60s, that religion and >politics were viewed as off-limits for discussions at work.

This is still the case.  It is not just an unwritten rule in some places.   

Bill Rushmore
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Just wait until David walks in with a bomb on his back.

Quad
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I read some article, and it could be wrong, that 80% of Israeli Jews do not believe in God. Is it somewhat true?

Kim
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Build a wall separating them, but do it on Dave's lands.

Anonymous Freak
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Put your headphones on and ignore them.  A portable MP3 player is a wonderful thing.  I use mine all the time to ignore inane/non-work converations being held by my officemates.

5v3n
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Congratulations, you have discovered at least one dangerous bigot in your team. Its better that you know than they keep it quiet and let it colour their decisions and relationships.

I disagree that your department needs them both. The productivity of your team will soon start to collapse.

I would suggest asking each of them to affirm in writing and preferably face to face that they respect each other's right to their viewpoint, even if they can't agree about the viewpoint itself. You do it too, first. If either or both of them refuse, then you have uncovered someone with bigotted views who cannot be trusted to respect the legal and human rights of their colleagues. Act accordingly.

Don't loose sight of the fact that *you* might be enflaming this situation.

I also like the water pistol idea. That is just brilliant.

WoodenTongue
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

How did David uncircumcise himself?

A. Moyle
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Both Jews and Muslims practice circumcision

Kim
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Oh, I must be confused.

Which ones are the hate-mongers that run around blowing stuff up?

A. Moyle
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Joe is a serious disruption to the department.  If management isn't taking it seriously now, perhaps they will when productivity tanks.

In the meantime, I suggest you and the rest of the department stop getting involved in Joe and David's squabble.  Heck, let them have that fistfight!  Might do 'em both some good, and it would (I hope) get management's attention.

Should be working
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Do you mean the Israeli army with their Apache helicopters and tanks?, and the bulldozers that demolishes homes?, and the right wing settlers that hate those palestinians who try to reclaim land that was stolen from them?.

Angela
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

No, I think he means those palestinians that send women and children to kill other women and children as their "protest".

ac
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

As long as we're doing the whole religious flame thing, heres one for you:

Christianity and Islam are in complete agreement.



How you ask?

Islam says eventually everyone will convert and its alrign to persecute no-Islamic people...
Revelations says that eventually everyone will be a horrible sinner who will violently persecute true Christians.  Nice how they don't contradict each other huh?

Steamrolla
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Sorry A. Moyle, I guess I can't see a difference between the two sides in their violence

Angela
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Islam says nothing of the sort of forcing non-Muslims to enter the fold, the Quran says "let there be no complusion in religion".  If your going to quote the fanatics, then it is justifiable for them to quote what the likes of the southern Baptists,neo-conservatives and kkk.

DNA
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

On a whole, David is very mature and decent. As for Joe, I think it's too much of a pride issue. He uses the most vicious slurs against David, you know, the accusations of you traitor type of language. David generally keeps to himself, and is actually more pleasent to be with, I don't know if its the conversion or his general change of character that has made him more humble. Actually, when I come to think of it, he used to be exactly like Joe. In the past month his taken a different turn, and is really a refreshing person to work with, this starkly contrasts with Joe, also David is the only one in the office that has ceased the senseless gossip and backbiting that is quite rampant up in here.
In any case, none of this really solves the current problem. I guess it's Joe that needs to be helped, and making either one work from home is not so easy.
Boy o boy, it's as if we have our own mini mid-east conflict here in the office.

Alex White
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

As Jew who lived in the same house as a recent islam convert, I have to say that you should fire one of them. Pick the best one to keep or fire the one least likely to sue, but it's not likely that things will sort themselves out on their own.

I would prefer to be sued than to have violence in my workplace.

MilesArcher
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Yes, the choice is obvious, kick Joes ass out to hell!!!

To hell with Joe
Thursday, June 17, 2004

DNA:
"If your going to quote the fanatics, then it is justifiable for them to quote what the likes of the southern Baptists,neo-conservatives and kkk."

The problem is, when someone over here does something extreme, the average citizen, our leaders, and our laws denounce them, but when Islamic extremists do something, try to get leaders on the Middle East to say "They are wrong".  They won't do it. They say "Don't judge us all by the few."  And that’s the end of the message.  Even though there is as much variation in Islam as there is in Christianity, none of them will admit it to the world.  I am a Christian and I say there are people that call themselves Christians who aren’t.  If one of those Islamic leaders claims that killing innocent people is not part of the faith, them they must also say "The terrorists are not Islamic." But they will not say this.  The opposite logic then applies; ANYONE who claims that an extremist shares the same faith, must also except the extremist’s views as part of their faith, wither they are Christian or Islamic or Jewish.

Steamrolla
Friday, June 18, 2004

Steamrolla, I don't know if your familiar with some of the arab based sattelite channels, I have the most popular ones eg Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, Mbc, Art..
And following every tragedy against the west (be it small or large), their are many arab/muslim commentators, leaders, prominent figures that are on the air 24/7 condemning and advising against extremisim etc.
It is not their fault if cnn and the rest of the western media outlets do not air their views.
I advise you to read what "they" have to say, al-jazeerah now has an english section..
http://english.aljazeera.net/HomePage

Butros Sayed
Friday, June 18, 2004

Sadly, the American hostage in Saudi Arabia has just been executed. As I switch through all the arab channels, there is a wave of condemnation from the street level to the senior officials.
Our heart goes to the family of Mr Paul Johnson and may the perpetrators be caught and given the heavy hand of the law, and in Saudi, capital punishment comes in the form of beheading, a fitting retribution for the horrible crime.

Butros Sayed
Friday, June 18, 2004

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