The Mutt’s Nuts

Where religion is about as attractive as a two week holiday in Afghanistan

Sainsbury’s Muslim staff can refuse to handle alcohol

with 8 comments

So Sainsbury’s, one of Britains biggest supermarkets, is allowing its Muslim checkout staff to opt-out of picking up and scanning bottles and cans of alcohol because it offends their religious beliefs. This despite the fact that nowhere in the Koran does it say that touching alcohol is banned, although the consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

Sainsbury’s have explained that Muslim staff who object to handling alcohol when it appears at their checkout, are able to raise their hand and have another colleague come and scan the offending objects for them. Having experienced how busy the supermarket gets at peak shopping times, such as Friday evenings and weekends, I can’t help thinking that calling over another member of staff to scan a person’s alcoholic purchases might take more than a little time. Surely keeping people waiting even longer than necessary in an already lengthy queue can’t be considered good customer care? Exactly who are Sainsbury’s making their priority here?

To be fair, some prominent British Muslims have spoken out against this bizarre policy. Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament, said: “This is some kind of overenthusiasm. One expects professional behaviour from people working in a professional capacity and this shows a lack of maturity.”

To me, Sainsbury’s is setting a very foolish precedent. By seeking to accommodate the prejudices of one religious community, they are opening the door to requests from every other group of people with strongly-held beliefs. Before long they will be asked to exempt Jewish staff from touching pork chops and sausages, Hindus from selling beef, Buddhists from serving any food that has been killed and Catholics from handling condoms. Vegetarians could weigh in with a refusal to deal with meat products, vegans will stop serving dairy foods and animal rights activists will have nothing to do with the stock or sale of battery chickens and eggs. Where will it all end?

I think that this story is symptomatic of the constant pandering to minority religious groups in this country that is building up a lot of resentment among native Brits. Although the government appears to be back-peddling rather quickly on their determination to impose multi-culturalism at all costs and are now starting to make integration their big “cause”, it has come too late, in my opinion. By encouraging minority religious groups to insist on having their cultural differences not only respected but promoted, often at the expense of the prevailing national culture, the government and others have laid the foundation of more and more demands for special treatment on the one hand and a growing feeling of justifiable grievance on the other.



Written by islaskye

October 7, 2007 at 9:04 am

8 Responses

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  1. Muslims seems to be undergoing a sort of “piety arms race” at the moment, apparently designed to prove you’re more islamic than your neighbour. Frankly anyone of any religion who pulls this kind of rubbish should be shown the door.


    October 10, 2007 at 10:00 am

  2. It’s hard to understand the appeal of fundamentalism or ultra-religiosity today, when our knowledge should make primitive or superstitious thinking redundant.


    October 11, 2007 at 7:25 pm

  3. you seem to wish to appear or, belive you aresmarter than others, that matter/energy creates itself-.i.e. aetheist. but you are doing so because you are impelled by psuedo and narrow government ‘school science’. the words you use as subjects are covers that bind you, not simple designations. one key to your confusion; they -muslims -are trusted, valued by my management, and in it. they always offer to help, and truthfully confide their happiness if someone – non-beliver -does it. with reason, you too may come to know and belive firmly beings or souls, reality beyond the sesnses-5 – of matterials.


    December 27, 2008 at 1:42 pm

  4. Dear Sir,
    This is going to a ridiculous level. I think and believe this is discrimination against people who buy alcohol or do not confirm to muslim beliefs. We believe in not discriminating anyone against sex, age, caste, religion and so on ………. it seems it is only on paper. I am very much against this kind of a policy and see that this is going to cause lot of unrest in the society. THIS MUST STOP. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.


    August 12, 2009 at 5:22 pm

  5. The age old statement – when in rome.
    Firstly I am not against anyone coming to and living in the UK, however if people wish to take a job within the UK they should expect to undertake the same duties as everyone else.
    Another example of softy England bending over to accommodate everyone.
    If I moved to another country and wanted to work for an organisation but refused to comply with duties because of my relegion would they be so understanding.
    the answer is qquite rightly NO.

    Phil Ross

    April 30, 2010 at 3:07 pm

  6. I stumbled on this website following a bizarre incident at Waterloo Sainsbury’s on Sunday. I’d popped in, with my own bags, to pick up some dessert and 12 bottle pack of Becks which was on offer. Only one lady on the checkout but there was no queue and the chap she was serving was nearly finished – she shouted accross to me to ‘use the self service checkout’. I explained that as I had my own bags (problematic on self check out), and the alcolhol needing approval from a member of staff I’d be happy to wait till she’d finished’. At this, the woman on the till shouted at the top of her voice again ‘no, use the self service’ which I reluctantly did. As expected someone then had to be summoned from the back of the shop, first to verify the alcolhol and then to allow the second transaction to go ahead. The case of beer being too heavy and large for the bagging section plus the dessert. I left the shop feeling bemused and not a little angry at being messed around and only later did the issue about the till lady being a muslim dawn on me – so I arrived here to check it out. Clearly it’s not part of Sainsbury policy to explain to customers what’s going on either in written in form or for the member of staff to say. To end, I have to say that this policy is bizarre and raises all the issues about a bad precedent introduced in an ad hoc way favouring the personal, rather than a theological principle, sincere feeling or simply a whim. I live above a large 24 hour shop chain owned and run muslims (no females employed ever) that dispenses alcolhol all day. Sainsbury have certainly lost my custom until reason prevails.


    September 18, 2012 at 8:40 am

  7. On an altogether unrelated topic I heard at the weekend that a Qatari consortium own a third of Sainsbury


    January 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm

  8. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied
    on the video to make your point. You clearly know
    what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on
    just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative to

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