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Thread: Stupid question but it's on my mind.

  1. #1
    Forum Member Wolfn's Avatar
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    Default Stupid question but it's on my mind.

    Howdy. I'm currently taking EMT classes and working my way up to become a firefighter, hopefully in 2014 (currently taking EMS beginner classes now, will take EMT classes in summer 2013 followed by Fire Academy afterwards).

    However, I have a thought that's bugging me; I'm a Muslim and I'm worried what other firefighters will think of me, especially because of 9/11. I won't make a big deal of it or anything, but I'm worried other firefighters won't like me or view me differently.

    My being Muslim won't affect my job performance but I'm worried that other firefighters will view me as a member of the religion that killed 343 firefighters on 9/11 (among thousands more). Yes, I don't consider the 9/11 terrorists to be Muslim, but I can't shake this feeling in the back of my mind about how the firefighting community will view me.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.


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    Hum. I am debating on if I should reply or not. This can be a touchy subject.

    Here is what I feel. Take this information with a grain of salt, a slice of lime, and a shot of Tequila.

    First of all, were you one of the terrorist? No. So don't let it bother you. Religion and race does not make a person, and anyone that judges a person based on either is ignorant. You said it yourself, "My being Muslim won't affect my job performance...". That is all that matters.

    Second, and this is most important. Firefighters are a brotherhood. So even if your religion or race did some how affect your job performance, then as a brotherhood, they should step in to help you improve your job performance and fix whatever issues you may have.

    I am sorry you are having these worries in your mind and heart. I can not fully understand the precise situation as I am not Muslim. But as a human being, I can understand fear of rejection, and have compassion.

    Good luck my brother.

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    Of course you will get some people that hold harsh feelings against you

    Some people still do not like the Japanese !!!!

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    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    As fire49 points out, some people just hold a grudge.

    You're there to provide emergency medical services and fire protection. Make that your focus.

    Don't be a religious zealot. People generally don't like zealots regardless of their religious leanings. As much as you can, leave that at the door (I know there are things you'll need to observe regardless).

    Taking from the old saw "you can attract more flies with honey than you can with vinegar," asking for deference to what you can't leave at the door will get you a lot more respect than demanding said deference. Likewise, respect the rights and beliefs of others.

    Your experience in fire and EMS will be largely what you make it. If you project hate and discontent, you'll get it back in spades.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Forum Member Miller337's Avatar
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    Be honorable and proficient in everything you do. Don't make a big deal about your beliefs and you will be will become a valued member.

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfn View Post
    Howdy. I'm currently taking EMT classes and working my way up to become a firefighter, hopefully in 2014 (currently taking EMS beginner classes now, will take EMT classes in summer 2013 followed by Fire Academy afterwards).

    However, I have a thought that's bugging me; I'm a Muslim and I'm worried what other firefighters will think of me, especially because of 9/11. I won't make a big deal of it or anything, but I'm worried other firefighters won't like me or view me differently.

    My being Muslim won't affect my job performance but I'm worried that other firefighters will view me as a member of the religion that killed 343 firefighters on 9/11 (among thousands more). Yes, I don't consider the 9/11 terrorists to be Muslim, but I can't shake this feeling in the back of my mind about how the firefighting community will view me.
    Go for it. If your heart is in the job, and you give it your all, your fellow frefighters will support you.
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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Your avatar scares me more than your religious beliefs.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Forum Member Wolfn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Your avatar scares me more than your religious beliefs.
    the romulan Nero from the new Star Trek movie is my man-crush
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.

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    MembersZone Subscriber voyager9's Avatar
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    One member of my crew is Muslim. Another is Jewish. A third is Catholic. None are in your face or overly zealous about it. It's actually lead to some pretty interesting conversations. It's also allowed for some VERY good meals when the one member's family offered to cook a Middle-Eastern dinner for us.

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    Forum Member bcjack's Avatar
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    If you follow the faith so closely as to let it become an issue, you will have problems. Growing a beard and fighting to keep it, the manner of your dress (traditional Muslim dress) and stuff like that will generate problems for you from some people.

    How will your co-workers know you are Muslim if you don;t tell them???
    everyonegoeshome.com

  11. #11
    Forum Member Wolfn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcjack View Post
    If you follow the faith so closely as to let it become an issue, you will have problems. Growing a beard and fighting to keep it, the manner of your dress (traditional Muslim dress) and stuff like that will generate problems for you from some people.

    How will your co-workers know you are Muslim if you don;t tell them???
    In terms of a beard, I'm thinking about having short stupple (I think that's how it's spelled) but it's not a full beard but I still have facial hair but not enough to interfere with my gear. I don't wear traditional Muslim clothes to the firehouse or anything like that (I hardly wear them at all).

    The biggest concern I had was prayers. We pray 5 times a day and I was worried what I would do if I'm at the firehouse praying and the bell goes off. I talked with several imams (our version of pastors) and they said I can interrupt prayer to save someone's life. Yes, prayer is important but if someone's life is on the line it's my duty to make sure I do everything I can to save someone.

    So essentially the only things that would tell people I'm muslim are;
    1) having a hyper-short beard (sort of like what someone would look like after a day or two of not shaving)
    2) quick prayers at the firehouse (but away from everyone else and I can stop them to answer a call)
    3) Word on the street is that there's alot of cooking at firehouses and I can't eat pork so if someone offers me bacon or something I will politely refuse.

    That's basically it.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfn View Post
    the romulan Nero from the new Star Trek movie is my man-crush
    If you worked at my fire department, that right there would be the biggest issue I had with you. A man crush? Really?

    But as was said before, don't make religion an issue for anyone else and they wont make it an issue for you. After you are offered employment just mention to your shift supervisor that this is what you do and your beliefs and that you wont let it affect your job in the least. Pork? You don't eat it. Big deal. Here's a way around it. You be the cook. Cook for your shift mates and they will love you, if it is good that is. Can you cork pork? If you can then I would learn to cook it and make another meat for yourself. The crew you run with would really appreciate that. If all else fails, bring something else in case thats what they make and just eat what you brought if whats made has pork in it.

    I hope I helped Wolfn, let me know if I can help you any further. I live in the Tampa Bay area.

  13. #13
    Forum Member bcjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfn View Post
    In terms of a beard, I'm thinking about having short stupple (I think that's how it's spelled) but it's not a full beard but I still have facial hair but not enough to interfere with my gear. I don't wear traditional Muslim clothes to the firehouse or anything like that (I hardly wear them at all).

    The biggest concern I had was prayers. We pray 5 times a day and I was worried what I would do if I'm at the firehouse praying and the bell goes off. I talked with several imams (our version of pastors) and they said I can interrupt prayer to save someone's life. Yes, prayer is important but if someone's life is on the line it's my duty to make sure I do everything I can to save someone.

    So essentially the only things that would tell people I'm muslim are;
    1) having a hyper-short beard (sort of like what someone would look like after a day or two of not shaving)
    2) quick prayers at the firehouse (but away from everyone else and I can stop them to answer a call)
    3) Word on the street is that there's alot of cooking at firehouses and I can't eat pork so if someone offers me bacon or something I will politely refuse.

    That's basically it.
    For the beard, depending on what your particular department policy states, it may be an issue. Here in CA, any facial hair that is within the seal area of your breathing apparatus or respirator mask is a violation of Cal-OSHA regulations and you must be clean shaven. The policy I was used to working within stated no more than 24-hours growth of facial hair and it was at the supervisor's discretion to determine if it was clean enough.

    The time spent with your prayers could be an issue also. The friction I see would be while others on your crew and/or department are working, you have stopped working (taking a break) to pray.

    Meals...Not a big deal IMHO.

    Good luck. I spent 38 years in the service, and I would not trade one second of it for anything.
    everyonegoeshome.com

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    Hello Wolfn,

    Quick question before I jump into some of my answers, are you looking to become a career firefighter or a volunteer? Both are honorable and commendable positions, however my answers to your questions could vary depending on your intention.

    I have been in the fire service pushing 12 years now. I've worked both part-time/fulltime, and volunteer. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a variety of people in the fire service, hailing all sorts of religious beliefs and creeds; the one common thing we all shared was our passion for the job. Having some faith and religion in your life, especially in this line of work can be very beneficial, it’s all about finding a way to balance your professional life with your spiritual life.

    Every department has a different set of grooming standards, I would strongly urge you check your local career stations. Across the board you cannot have any facial hair that interferes with your SCBA masks “seal”. Some departments might take that further and say no facial hair at all. Same can be said for any religious symbols and emblems, jewelry etc. Again this all can vary greatly Department to Department, and would require a little investigating on your end.

    Time for Prayer and so forth, you really need to work that out with your shift supervisor/Truck officer. I am sure that a compromise could be established that would allow you to attend to both your responsibilities. The biggest thing I could personally say is, make sure you finish your work responsibilities first. Especially as a probationary firefighter/new guy. If you’re tasked with cleaning the tools, checking the equipment and or putting the truck back together after a hot job and you leave it till after you’re done with your prayers, and then get another call for service. You delay your crew’s response, and put your brothers at risk by not having the truck ready to go as was requested of you.

    Last but not least, you’re going to get your chops busted for just about everything, religion included. The Fire service is loaded with tradition, busting on the new guy is just one of the many. You cannot control what people think of you and your religious preference. A firefighter that forms a negative opinion of you, based on your religious beliefs alone, is an ignorant person, but don’t allow their negative view of your beliefs cloud your judgment and or ability to provide them assistance or do your job. Work hard, earn your crews respect and admiration, always give 110% and do it with a smile. At the end of the day, your fellow crew members don’t overly care in what you believe in, they care that when the bell rings and the @!#$@ hits the fan, your there with them carrying your weight and doing your job!

    Hope this helps set your mind at ease, best of luck to you in your future.

    ~S~


    PS. Almost forgot one small last thing, it falls under what I would consider common sense. Unless someone inquires about your religion, don’t press it upon them. I have seen my share of arguments start by people pushing their religious beliefs in the station. “Respect we all have our own views an opinions, I shall not push mine onto you, if you shall give me the courtesy of doing the same.”

  15. #15
    Forum Member FFWALT's Avatar
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    Wolfn,

    Two tours have given me a lot of time to think about different parts of religion. I have not studied the Muslim teachings in depth but I do know that there are two versions, one being peace and one being war, based upon which parts of the Koran you chose to follow. Regardless, I know that David Koresh and Jim Jones both claimed Christianity and we know how that worked out. Then there were the Holy Wars. Those are the few that come to mind right off.

    Regarding the stubble. I could see that as a major sticking point due to safety requirements. I would also consult with you Imam regarding this. Memory is a bit weak on this but it is my understanding that Muslims ideally never cut their beard but jihadist are supposed to be clean shaven. I could very well be mistaken. Regardless, if your Imam's acknowledge the need to cut daily prayer's short to help a fellow man I would tend to believe that they may provide the same answer regarding the beard.

    Chow is chow. Some poor misguided souls are even vegetarians. Pork should be no big deal.

    It would be my recommendation that if someone flat out ask you about your religion that you tell them. If you don't you are hiding something and secrets in the station are a bad thing. Like the other said, don't go preaching in the station. The fire service is a lot like the military in the fact that if you pull your weight and do your job nobody really cares which God you pray to, if one at all. '

    Take care,
    Walt
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