Monday, October 08, 2007

‘Not in my hands’

More inane concessions to a superstitious mindset that prefers to engage in special pleading than reasoned debate (via Norm):

Sainsbury’s is permitting Muslim checkout operators to refuse to handle customers’ alcohol purchases on religious grounds. It means other members of staff have to be called over to scan in wine and beer for them at the till.

Units of alcohol that such behaviour will save Muslim cashiers from consuming: zero.

Units of alcohol that such behaviour will prevent customers from purchasing and consuming: zero.

I don’t know the details of the Islamic rules against alcohol, although I gather that drinking the stuff is out. I’d be surprised to hear that handling it in the process of a sale is also forbidden whereas a pantomime legalistic refusal to handle it while remaining complicit in its sale is just fine.

Like so much else these days, this gesture is a public declaration of solipsistic piety and not an attempt to change anything in any way. It contrives to be both otherwordly and egocentric. Cognitive dissonance can spawn some strange contortions indeed, especially when infused with scripture.


anticant said...

My former Muslim neighbour, who was chairman of the local mosque, always used to bring bottles of sherry round to us infidels at Christmas.

Tom Freeman said...


My religion, though, specifically forbids me from drinking sherry.

(Or is that my taste buds? I forget...)