The religion of Islam imposes certain prohibitions on its adherents, including admonitions against drinking alcohol and eating pork. In a free society, these individuals should absolutely have the liberty to practice their faith in a manner that does not negatively impact others in the community.
America’s cultural forbears in the United Kingdom, however, have been increasingly allocating special privileges to those within the faith, which many Britons say intrude on their way of life.
Among the latest evidence of this trend is a recently announced policy change at the popular retailer Marks & Spencer. According to reports, Muslims working at the store are permitted to deny the sale of any product they find offensive, forcing shoppers to wait for another clerk.
“I was taken aback,” one shopper reportedly replied after a clerk “who was wearing a headscarf” refused to sell a bottle of champagne. “I’ve never come across that before.”
For its part, the retailer said in a statement that it works to put Muslims opposed to handling certain food items “in a suitable role, such as in our clothing department or bakery.”
The explanation did not stem a tide of customer backlash, though. A number of social media users expressed their dismay that a cashier could cause shoppers a significant inconvenience simply because they are unwilling to touch products their employer regularly sells.
One of the outraged customers, Matt Syson, called the retailer’s sincerity into question, wondering if the store would provide similar accommodations for those of other faiths.
“If you have Christian workers who wish to refuse the sale of ladies’ garments to male homosexuals or men’s trousers to lesbians,” he wrote in response to a Daily Mail article, “I do hope you will stand by those workers’ religious or personal beliefs.”
A number of other stores across the U.K. have policies in place to protect the sensibilities of practicing Muslims. The fact remains that shoppers should be able to purchase legal products from retailers regardless of the religious beliefs of the store’s employees.
While America’s leaders are trashing the moral objections Christian business owners have to ObamaCare’s contraception mandate, our friends across the pond are rewriting their policies to appease practitioners of Islam.