One afternoon this summer, Asha Abuukar said, she approached her supervisor at the Cargill Meat Solutions plant and got permission to go on break.

She washed in accordance with Islamic principles and prayed in a "reflection room" Cargill has set aside where beef is boxed and sealed.

When she returned two minutes late, she said, her supervisor told her that if it happened again, she would be fired.

"I'm sorry," Abuukar, 41, who also runs a Somali market in town, recalled replying. "I was only praying."

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