A KFC customer was reportedly refused a hand-wipe in a halal-only branch of the fast food chain because it contained alcohol – a substance banned by Islam.
Graham Noakes was stunned when staff at the branch told him he couldn’t have a handwipe. Although Noakes originally thought the refusal was a joke, according to The Mirror, KFC staff confirmed that the policy was genuine.
"They told me it might offend other customers. I explained that it wouldn't affect me. In fact - I told them I like alcohol, so it wouldn't bother me in the slightest,” Noakes said. "When they wouldn't give me one, I was disgusted.”
A KFC spokesperson noted that the company had been running a halal-only, meaning “lawful” in Arabic, trial since 2010 in areas where “there has been demand” from customers. Halal-only branches also have special menus.
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According to the spokesperson, the Leicester branch in the East Midlands of England was waiting on a stock of lemon-based wipes to replace its alcohol-based ones. He added that the company makes sure halal-only locations are located near non-halal stores in order to satisfy every customer’s needs.
Suleman Nagdi, a spokesperson for the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organizations, conversely described the policy as “bizarre."
“I know alcohol is prohibited in the Muslim community, but I don’t understand why you can’t use hand-wipes,” Nagdi said. “KFC has made a commercial decision to do this, and now the Muslim community will face backlash.”
Nagdi said he’s never experienced anything like KFC’s decision before.