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MUSLIM supermarket checkout staff who refuse to sell alcohol are being allowed to opt out of handling customers' bottles and cans of drink.

Islamic workers at Sainsbury's who object to alcohol on religious grounds are told to raise their hands when encountering any drink at their till so that a colleague can temporarily take their place or scan items for them.

Other staff have refused to work stacking shelves with wine, beer and spirits and have been found alternative roles in the company.

Sainsbury's said this weekend it was keen to accommodate the religious beliefs of all staff but some Islamic scholars condemned the practice, saying Muslims who refused to sell alcohol were reneging on their agreements with the store.

Islam states that Muslims should not consume alcohol, but opinion is divided on whether it is permissible to be involved in the sale of it.

Mustapha, a Muslim checkout worker at the company's store in Swiss Cottage, northwest London, interrupts his work to ensure that he does not have to sell or handle alcohol.


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