Everyone knows that Muslims don’t eat pork. Despite this, or precisely because of this, an employee at McDonald’s in the USA is said to have served a fish burger with bacon to a Muslim family. Now a civil rights organization is suing.
The incident is said to have happened last June in Chicopee, around 130 kilometers west of Boston in the US state of Massachusetts. Accordingly, Ghadir Alahmar was at McDonald’s with her two seven-year-old sons when an employee is said to have intentionally put bacon on the burger. A civil rights organization is now complaining about this.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an Islamic civil rights organization, has filed a complaint. It states: “It is well known that Islam forbids Muslims to eat pork.” McDonald’s employees deliberately added bacon to the applicant’s food in order to offend, humiliate and distress her and her young children.
The lawsuit is the first step in seeking possible damages, said the civil rights organization’s attorney, Barbara Dougan. She also hopes McDonald’s will train its employees better in response to the incident to avoid a similar incident in the future. “Religious discrimination in a place of public accommodation is not only illegal, but morally reprehensible,” Dougan said.
A visit to McDonald’s leaves a mark on the family
The incident apparently left its mark on Alahmar and especially on her sons. “McDonald’s made my kids and I feel unwanted and worthless.” She believes McDonald’s wanted to “punish” her for her faith and religious beliefs, she said in a statement. “That really hurt us. My kids are now wondering if they are welcome in their own country. They ask me, ‘Do they hate us?’ How is a mother supposed to answer that question?”
The complainant rules out the fact that the incident was an error. According to the complaint, she wore a headscarf and a Muslim overdress when she entered the McDonald’s branch. Alahmar ordered a simple fish burger and had one of her children repeat the order to an employee. So she wanted to rule out that she was misunderstood because of her accent.
After receiving their order, which included fries in addition to the fish burger, they went to a nearby schoolyard to eat the food. There they noticed that the fish burger was also topped with bacon, according to the complaint. They didn’t eat the bacon, but one son ate the bottom half of the burger and part of the fish fillet. Later, the family got a refund of the purchase price of the burger from McDonald’s. The AP news agency asked the fast food chain for a statement on the incident, which has so far remained unanswered.