A Muslim cashier at a Tesco store refused to serve a customer buying ham and wine because he said it was Ramadan.
The till operator told Julie Cottle he would not touch the items as they are considered forbidden by Islam and said she should use the self- service tills instead.
When Miss Cottle, 43, from Neasden, north-west London, complained to the manager, he backed the worker’s right to refuse to serve her because it was the holy month of Ramadan and he was fasting.
But Tesco has now apologised for Monday’s incident and said the worker had been ‘spoken to’.
Miss Cottle said her treatment left her furious. ‘He pointed at the ham and wine in my basket and said “I can’t serve you that because I’m fasting”,’ she said.
‘When I told him he should be serving customers not turning them away he still refused, telling me to go to the self-service.
‘I know he has his beliefs – I’m a Christian myself – but he should be able to do his job properly. I’m disgusted. If he is refusing to do his job he shouldn’t be there.’
During Ramadan Muslims go without food and drink between dawn and dusk. The devout also refrain from smoking, swearing, arguing, listening to music and having sex to demonstrate their faith.
Following the yearly ritual is considered as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Miss Cottle, a mother of three, said she went to a Tesco Express to get two packets of ham for her children’s lunches. She also had three bottles of white wine among her shopping.
‘There was an Asian man at the till,’ she said. ‘He said he couldn’t serve me because he was fasting for Ramadan. He told me I had to use the self-service.