A customer at a Leicester branch of KFC has said he was “shocked” when he was refused a hand-wipe as it might offend other restaurant-goers.
Graham Noakes, 41, said he was astonished when staff at the fast food chain’s outlet in St George’s retail park refused to give him a hand-wipe because it was against its Halal policy.
Staff said this was because the wipes are soaked in an alcohol-infused liquid. Alcohol is forbidden in the Muslim Holy book, the Quran.
The Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations has called the decision “bizarre”.
Graham said: “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.
“When they wouldn’t give me one, I was disgusted.
“I will never be going to KFC again.”
The father-of-two added: “I’ve never experienced anything like this before, I couldn’t believe it.
“Why shouldn’t I be allowed a wipe for my hands?
“They use wipes in hospital, what happens when we start being told we can’t have wipes there?
“I just can’t understand it.”
Graham, who lives in Birmingham, is working in Leicester on the construction of a new Muslim community centre in Highfields.
Halal is the Arabic word for ‘lawful’ and relates to what is allowed in the context of Islamic law, but is often used in conjunction with the issue of how meat is dealt with.
Suleman Nagdi, spokesman for the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations, said: “I know alcohol is prohibited in the Muslim community, but I don’t understand why you can’t use hand-wipes - there’s nothing wrong with it.
“Using alcohol doesn’t mean you’re consuming it.
“It seems like an unusual decision to be made.
“In fact, it sounds bizarre.”
Suleman said such decisions potentially provoked some people to start “lashing out” at the Muslim community.
“I’ve never come across anything like this before,” he added.
“KFC have made a commercial decision to do this, and now the Muslim community will face backlash.”
A KFC spokesman said the company had been running a halal trial since 2010, in “areas where there has been demand from our customers”, such as the restaurant in St George’s Retail Park.
He said that as a result “a small number of products from our usual menu are not available”, and in addition the St George’s branch had decided not to stock wet wipes that contain alcohol”.
The Mercury understands that the branch is waiting for its stock of alcohol-based wipes to be replaced with lemon-based wipes.
The spokesman added: “Wherever possible, we have taken steps to ensure that our halal restaurants are close to a non-halal store to cater to all of our customers' needs, and, in this case, customers wanting a non-halal option can visit our nearby restaurant in Braunstone.”