Marks & Spencer apologises over Muslim row

Marks & Spencer apologises over Muslim row

UK retailer faces boycott after report claiming Muslim employees can refuse to serve alcohol and pork.


Pedestrians walk past a Marks & Spencer store in London, 22 May 2012. (EPA/ANDY RAIN)

UK retailer Marks and Spencer apologised over a row prompted by a report from the Telegraph, which said that Muslim employees could refuse to serve alcohol and pork to customers. According to the report, a Muslim employee working the till at a London store last week would not serve a customer buying champagne, and requested another employee to do the checkout. 

In response to the initial report, thousands flooded the retailer's Facebook page with angry comments, many threatening to boycott. 
 
On Monday, the company addressed the controversy, saying, "We would like to apologise for any resulting confusion and reassure our customers that this was an isolated incident". A spokeswoman reportedly said that the company does accommodate staff members' religious preferences by finding them a "suitable role", adding that in this case, it was a mistake to have the employee working the till.