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Anorak | Church of England Supports Marks & Spencer Sharia Checkouts But Not Christians Refusing To Serve Halal

Church of England Supports Marks & Spencer Sharia Checkouts But Not Christians Refusing To Serve Halal

by | 24th, December 2013

church of england kaffir

THERE has been something of a furore over Marks & Spencer’s announcement that henceforth Muslim staff on their checkouts will be permitted to decline to serve M&S customers who purchase alcohol or pork, writes Cranmer. That is to say, M&S customers will either be asked to queue at a checkout where the employee does not object to serving kuffar (however much longer the queue), or they will have to wait while M&S find a member of staff who is prepared to serve you.

His Grace really wasn’t going to write on this matter (it being the Season of Goodwill, and all), but the Church of England decided rather foolishly to tweet its commendation to M&S for “making reasonable accommodation for the religious beliefs of their workers”, which really needs a response.

This policy appears to emanate from  one incident :

At one of its stores in central London last week, customers waiting with goods that included pork or alcohol were told by a Muslim checkout worker to wait until another till became available. The assistant was extremely apologetic at having to ask customers to wait.

One customer, who declined to be named, said: “I had one bottle of champagne, and the lady, who was wearing a headscarf, was very apologetic but said she could not serve me. She told me to wait until another member of staff was available.

“I was taken aback. I was a bit surprised. I’ve never come across that before.”

Customers trying to buy alcoholic drinks for Christmas were also asked to wait.

marks and sparks

 

* Marks & Spencer started life more than 125 years ago when the Jewish immigrant Michael Marks (above) came to the north of England from his hometown of Slonim, Belarus. He arrived with little money and spoke poor English. Beginning as a pedlar, he soon owned a market stall in Kirkgate Market in Leeds. He classified everything by price, but quickly stopped selling more expensive items when the penny section thrived.

Michael decided to look for a partner to help manage his growing business. He initially approached Isaac Dewhirst, who had loaned money towards his original start up costs. Isaac declined but recommended Tom Spencer – his senior cashier. Tom agreed, and on 28 September 1894 Marks & Spencer was born.

 

And M&S have explained their policy:

“We recognise that some of our employees practise religions that restrict the food or drink they can handle, or that mean they cannot work at certain times. M&S promotes an environment free from discrimination and so, where specific requests are made, we will always make reasonable adjustments to accommodate them, whilst ensuring high levels of customer service.”

An environment free from discrimination? Have they considered that their customers don’t wish to be discriminated against and made to feel morally deficient or ‘unclean’? How is inconveniencing customers by forcing them to queue at non-Muslim checkouts consistent with “high levels of customer service”?

The main problem with this is that it plays to a certain Muslim stereotype: it affirms an utterly myopic interpretation of sharia law and so perpetuates prejudice against all Muslims. The Qur’an exhorts Muslims not to eat pork products or drink alcohol: it does not say they may not handle glass bottles or pass a plastic packet of bacon over a scanner.

But, no matter. Some M&S equality aficionado has determined the orthodox tenets of each religion, and is prepared to bend over backwards to accommodate them: they have confirmed in true anti-discrimination style that Jewish employees are also permitted to decline to serve customers alcohol and pork, notwithstanding that no Jewish employee has ever refused to do this in the store’s 129-year history.

But why stop at alcohol and pork?

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Are they also permitted to decline to scan a packet of prawns? May they refuse to sell garments made of wool and cotton? Or meat mixed with dairy? Is a Muslim employee permitted to decline to sell you a bikini or a lipstick? And what about M&S finance? Is a Muslim employee who objects to charging interest on debt going to be permitted to administer an interest-free credit card?

And why restrict this to the point of sale? Don’t these products require handling

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Posted: 24th, December 2013 | In: News, The Consumer Comments (7) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink