An interesting story in the Daily Mail today:
A Muslim store worker at Marks & Spencer refused to serve a customer buying a children’s book on biblical stories because she said it was “unclean”.
Understandable outrage from all quarters. Even, it would seem, from Inayat Bunglawala, the assistant secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain. However, here are his reported words:
He said: “This appears to be a very regrettable incident and the ‘unclean’ remark was clearly very offensive and unacceptable.
“Many Biblical stories complement the teachings of the Koran. We hope that M&S will investigate this incident.”
I’m sorry, sir, but you’re rather missing the point. It is immaterial whether or not Bible stories complement the teachings of the Koran. What the store worker did was unacceptable, full stop. Is Mr Bunglawala suggesting that, if the ‘offending’ item was a book that did not complement the Koran’s teachings, then the store worker would have been within her rights to refuse to sell it?
It appears to me that Mr Bunglawala does not really condemn what this store worker did. His support for the Christian customer is implicitly qualified. It is conditional upon her buying something that does not (in his opinion) contradict the Koran’s teachings. I am not sure I am encouraged by his words.