Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Terry Sanderson: When Diversity Becomes Divisiveness

"The story about Sainsbury’s allowing their Muslim staff to refuse to sell alcohol – or even stack it on shelves if they don’t want to – was widely reported last week. Most people thought it just another minor example of the “political correctness gone mad” tabloid tale. [...] The woman who was refused the morning after pill by a Muslim pharmacist joins the growing number of people who have found themselves confronted with religious objections to perfectly legal activities. We have lived for a long time with the refusal of some Catholic doctors to provide abortion services, and the resistance of religious bodies to the introduction of a law that would permit assisted dying. [...] But now that idea of being exempted from service provision on grounds of religion is expanding. We have had cases of taxi drivers refusing to carry guide dogs in their cabs because of Koranic objections, we have had doctors refusing to prescribe contraception, and a Muslim policeman refusing to guard the Israeli embassy and Jewish policemen demanding to be excused duties on Saturday. Now we have shop workers in supermarkets wanting to pick and choose what goods they will sell."

Terry Sanderson, National Secular Society, 5. October 2007
Seems to me it's a perfectly good reason to avoid hiring religious people. Is it discrimination to avoid hiring a person that is going to discriminate? I don't think so.
It also has to be said that in Islam, it's not even haram to drink alcohol. It's just that they expect it to lead to haram if you have a couple of drinks. But that shouldn't affect selling it. And also, transporting dogs is not haram either.
These Muslims are trying hard to be holier than Muhammed, and they should get no respect.

See also:
The Herald: Sainsbury’s does Islam no favours
Daily Mail: Muslim medical students refuse to learn about alcohol or sexual diseases


Anonymous said...

Actually, as a former muslim, I can say that the vast majority of muslims believe that drinking alcohol is haram. I nonetheless agree with your view that things are going to far.

Essentially the problem is that such muslims are putting a prohibition on their behaviour (not drinking) and enforcing it on others who do not believe the same thing. I'd rather that people who are able to drink/have abortions etc be able to bring (religious) discrimination claims against people who refuse to provide them with goods/services.

Unknown said...

I've heard it several places that there's a distinction between haram and what leads to haram, but as this is fairly new territory to me, I'll back down here. ;)