Wednesday 23 April 2014
News updated at 10:11 PM IST
Weather
Max: 35.5°C
Min : 21.5°C
In Bangalore
Partially cloudy

Marks & Spencer in row over Muslim alcohol sales refusal

London, Dec 23, 2013 (AFP)
Marks & Spencer in row over Muslim alcohol sales refusal Reuters Image

British retailer Marks & Spencer faced criticism today after it emerged that it allows Muslim staff to refuse to sell customers pork and alcohol.

More than 8,000 people have signed up to a Facebook page calling for a boycott of the chain after an "extremely apologetic" Muslim checkout worker told a customer they would have to wait for another employee to sell them a bottle of champagne.

M&S, which is Britain's biggest clothing retailer as well as selling food and homeware, said that when employees have religious beliefs that restrict what foods or drinks they can handle it tries to place them in a "suitable role".


"We regret that in the case highlighted we were not following our own internal policy," a company spokeswoman said.

"As a secular business we have an inclusive policy that welcomes all religious beliefs whether across our customer or employee base."

But the "Boycott Marks and Spencer" Facebook page said the policy was an affront to "common sense".

The issue emerged after an unnamed customer told the Daily Telegraph newspaper the worker had refused to sell them champagne at a London store and that they would have to wait for another till to become available.

"I was taken aback," the customer told the newspaper. "I was a bit surprised. I've never come across that before."

Drinking alcohol and pork consumption are forbidden in Islam.

The row highlighted differences among British retailers' policies on whether staff should be allowed to refuse to sell certain products on religious grounds.

Like M&S, supermarket chains Asda, Morrisons and Tesco said Muslim staff would not have to work on the tills if they objected to handling specific products.

But the head of high street retailer John Lewis said staff should not have the right to refuse to serve customers.

"This is taking it one stage beyond common sense," managing director Andy Street told BBC radio.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A woman with her son watches from a window the election campaign rally of National Conference...

A woman with her son watches from a window the election campaign rally of National Conference...

People get their face painted to create awareness on importance of voting in Mumbai on Wednesday...

People get their face painted to create awareness on importance of voting in Mumbai on Wednesday...

Girls display placards to create awareness on voting in Guwahati on Wednesday. PTI Photo

Girls display placards to create awareness on voting in Guwahati on Wednesday. PTI Photo

Artists make paintings of Sachin Tendulkar to wish him on the eve of his birthday in Moradabad...

Artists make paintings of Sachin Tendulkar to wish him on the eve of his birthday in Moradabad...

Police personnel ride a 'jugaad' on their way to polling booths on the eve of Lok Sabha elections...

Police personnel ride a 'jugaad' on their way to polling booths on the eve of Lok Sabha elections...

Girls learn martial arts during a self defense training camp in Faridabad on Wednesday. PTI Photo

Girls learn martial arts during a self defense training camp in Faridabad on Wednesday. PTI Photo

A woman voter showing inked finger to her children during repolling at a polling booth in Kochi...

A woman voter showing inked finger to her children during repolling at a polling booth in Kochi...

A honeybee caught feeding on nectar in ...

A honeybee caught feeding on nectar in ...

Models walk the ramp displaying jewellery during a fashion show in Chandigarh on Wednesday...

Models walk the ramp displaying jewellery during a fashion show in Chandigarh on Wednesday...

Devotees pray and take dip on the banks of the river Ganges, in Varanasi. AP Photo

Devotees pray and take dip on the banks of the river Ganges, in Varanasi. AP Photo

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523