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Some Muslim workers at Target refuse to handle pork

How would you feel if a cashier made you swipe your own groceries because of his/her religious beliefs?

I'm a reporter who covers Target for the Star Tribune and the other day, I got a call from someone who said that an employee at the Target store downtown refused to run his bacon through a scanning machine. He was mighty upset, arguing that the cashier had "no right to work as a cashier at Target" if she wasn't prepared to swipe his groceries.

But he was a little vague on the details, so I decided to check it out myself. At the Target store on E. Lake Street, a cashier wearing a hijab looked uncomfortable when I showed up at the cash register with a frozen pepperoni pizza. She immediately called for help, and another employee rang up the pizza and placed it in the basket.

I asked her if it was because she was Muslim, and she nodded her head. "I can't even touch it," she said.

The E. Lake store has only has a few aisles of food. How do Muslim workers adapt in Super Targets where there are full-fledged grocery sections? And is anyone other than this caller bothered by this? Are there some Muslim workers at Target who feel they have to suppress their beliefs to avoid conflicts?

Editor's note: A story about this issue appeared in Wednesday's Star Tribune.

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Muslim workers at target

Do the Orthodox Jewish workers refuse to handle anything that is not kosher?
I'd check with the company as to the stores policy about what a employee can and cannot refuse to do.
Also how does Target(or other stores) handle employees that may have issues with handling some of the store's products?

Muslims not touching a pizza

First the taxis and now the food. This is America and if they want to work here they have to adapt themseleves like all of us do. Why do I have to deal with her problems when I shop or if I want a taxi. In New York, Chicago, LA, or any city in this country this does not happen. This will be a much bigger issue than we think and if we let it go the floodgate will open which it seems is happening already.

Hello, As a Muslim myself i


As a Muslim myself i completely understand where she is coming from however, I do believe that things have to change when you move to a new country or adopt a new religion. You can't pick and choose what you will do at a grocery store where there is all sorts of Haraam-unlawful things- I think its wrong for Target to accept such behaviour either do the job or get a job where you don't have to deal with 'pork'. This is America not Bahraine or Egypt.


Notice how I said Muslim workers vs Pork.I just cannnot for the life of me understand why we muslims tends to make things difficult for ourselves.It's bad enough lots of people all over the world have negative impressions about Islam but must we,instead of enlightening and be accomodating choose to prove them right.

There is a saying that 'If you can't stand the heat,get out of the kitchen'.Simply put,if you cannot handle pork,don't work in grocery/food stores.The way I look at it,it either you are plain lazy and unwilling to do a honest work to take care of and provide for your family or you are just looking for an excuse to get laid off so you can sue your employer,using your religion as the reason you got laid off.

Instead of hiding behind religion,especially Islam,let me suggest you find another line of work whereby you don't have to touch pork or any other related items Islam forbides us from touching or eating.

Muslims who want it both ways.

I am sick and tired of Muslims who want to enjoy the freedom of living in the US, but want to bring their intolerances and prejudices with them. If I were to live in a Muslim society, there are some things I would have to accept-though I may not like them. Muslim immigrants know that there is a secular and Christian stance to our lifestyle here-that's no secret. If they don't want to handle pork, they should avoid working in a supermarket. If they don't want to handle taxi passengers with Alcohol, then they should not drive Taxi at the Airport. Give the Somali's and other immigrants credit-at least they are working, which is more than you can say for the welfare immigrants coming to Minnesota from Chicago and Gary.

Muslim's at Target

Yet Christian Pharmacists are required BY LAW to dispense morning after pills or have their license revoked? Why is every religion EXCEPT CHRISTIANITY respected and tolerated?

Muslim Workers Refuse

These Muslims at Targert and at the airport need to be put on a plane and sent back to wherever they came from...If they can't adapt to our way of life they dont' need to be here.

Muslim workers at Target refuse to handle pork response

Bottom line. People choose to live here. They also choose to work at Target.. Or heck, even drive cabs for that matter. They need to do their job and if part of that job is against their religious beliefs then they need to find a new one. Heck, being a hitman is against my religious beliefs and thats why I choose not to be a hitman. Nobody is entitled to a job. Its a priviledge to work, and yes, no one should be without a job in this country. This is getting a little ridiculous. People need to either learn how to ascimilate into our soceity or leave. We do to much to accomodate new people coming in to this country. Whatever happen to the work ethic our ancestors came here with? Work hard,learn english and still embrace your heritage..Its a beautiful thing, but if you don't want to handle pork because of your beliefs that is fine. Just don't go whining to the employer to change their ways for you. You don't like it, get a new job. Everyone else has to...

Asian Indian wouldn't slice beef

I was in the process of moving my sandwich and espresso shop and needed a small amount of roast beef to make it one more day. I went to cub foods and pointed at some angus roast beef in the deli case. The man working there who appeared to be an asian indian kept aking me "why I wanted so much" and telling me "that's no way to run a business spending so much on supplies". I realized then that he was looking for an excuse to not slice or handle the beef. I was LIVID over this!! It was late at night this was the only place with high enough quality roast beef in the area. I complained to the management and found out he had been in trouble for other types of misconduct and was subsequently let go. I never did get my roast beef either.

"uncomfortable" showed through the burka?

Come on. If she was wearing a burka, how could you tell she looked uncomfortable by your pork pie? Could you see through her burka? Burkas cover the face. Are you being honest? If she does not want to even touch it, why should anyone eat it? After all, Jesus did not eat pork. If we want to follow him, we should likewise avoid it. Even if you are addicted to pig meat, be a man and ring it up yourself. Stop whining about this.

Islamic packers

Dear Chris;
Welcome to the big, wide, wonderful world. Just for your information orthodox Jews will also not handle pork or pork products. They also will not use machinery on Saturdays, which is why orthodox Jews generally do not live more than a mile from a synagoge, as they must walk to and from Friday night and Saturday evening services. This also determined the size of church parishes, and the size of county governments in the original 13 colonies. I don't believe that Muslims face similar restrictions but they must pray several times a day while faceing toward Mecca. So what you see as shocking is in fact just different. And there is a difference between a pharmacist refusing to provide you with a perscription because of a religious conviction and a clerk in a grocery store asking you to wait for another clerk to ring up your pizza...It's just growing pains - American growing pains. And its nice to know we're still growing, isn't it?

I am bothered by this. It

I am bothered by this. It seems an extension of the Muslim cab driver issue - that the rest of us must adapt to their religious beliefs or be branded "intolerant."

I'm a raging, bleeding-heart liberal, and proud of it. I definitely have a problem with people accepting jobs that have aspects that may conflict with their religious beliefs, and then after accepting the position, demand that the employer conform.

There are lots of jobs that don't involve pork, alcohol, or guide dogs.

In regard to the Muslim

In regard to the Muslim employee who would not handle pork while cashiering at Target: Go to work at Bed and Beyond. I'm certain there is no hidden hog in the designer sheets. Jeeeeze, like the Muslim cashier didn't know she'd be handling food when she took the job at Target. I don't believe in gambling for myself but I'll sell you a lottery ticket if I go to work at a local Oasis convenience store. C

muslims and pork

Put everyone one of them on a plane and ship them back to where they came from. This is our country, our culture and we spek english here. I'm tired of having to give into a group of people because of their beliefs. Get over it or leave!!!!!!


B as in B, S as in S.

I can’t begin to tell ya how sick I am of this Muslim nonsense. Really enough is enough !


Bottom line here is that employees are hired to perfom specific job functions. If they cannot perform the job requirements as tasked, do not hire them. For those already hired: It is my religious belief that when I go through a checkout line with my cart filled with pork, the checkout person will scan my groceries! Amen!

I have had the same

I have had the same experience. It used to be that Target considered custimers guests. Now it seems that workers with minority religious beliefs are guests. If I have to wait for another cahies to handle the products that Target or any other store sells, perhaps the worker should find another line of work. It's the same with cab drivers and pharmacists who refuse to fill perscriptions for contraceptives.

Muslim in Banks

How is that Muslim can work in banks where interest is charged?

Muslims refuse to handle pork at Target

As a Radiology professional one is reminded of an Ultrasound Technologist at Fairview Southdale who was fired for refusing to perform an obstetrical ultrasound, due to his Christian beliefs, on a woman planning to abort.


I really don't agree with the fact that others have to be inconvienced at the check out lane due to someone else's religion. Now if we gave up our religious ways in the schools and else where then they should have to follow suite. It is not fair to us American's (mostly), to have to stop doing the things that we have been doing for decades. Just because we have had some people move here that don't have the same beliefs. Now I can remember, before other people moved here we did have some Muslim's. But we didn't have to start living differently because of them. If we went to another Country we would have to adapt to thier ways of living, so why can't they do the same when they come here?! And if I have to experience this in the store, believe me I am going to make a big deal out of it. I am going to get the manager involved and if I have to I will file a law suite.

This is just part of my opion.


I've noticed where I live (we have quite a few Somalis moving here) that when I go to the grocery store, many of the employees that are Somali (and obviously Muslim if they do this) have a pair of gloves handy. They will put the gloves on and bag my groceries- no matter what it is. I roll my eyes at it, but hey, whatever they have to do to get my purchases complete is fine. Is this something acceptable to the Muslim community? It could just end the problem if everyone handed out a 50 cent pair of mittens.

Laws from a Lawless Land

Somalis are generally here in Minnesota and the USA because their own land was so lawless, so they yield to a higher authority than Caesar. I have a policeman friend who states that he must patiently repeat police orders multiple times to Somali immigrants, yet he knows they understand his directions the first or at the latest the second time he clearly states the orders he issues in the line of duty. Much of this is about too many people in a club, blocking rights of way, illegal parking, trespassing, jaywalking, etc. These may seem minor but it is not hard to believe it is an attempt to "play ignorant" an avoid not only laws but Americanism. I also am tired of recent immigrants who push their beliefs to the extent that they will not perform service jobs. All other immigrant groups have. The Prophet Mohammed does not rule the USA. As a Christian, I am not uncomfortable saying Jesus does not rule the USA, either. Go along to get along, or get out of that job.

I believe the original

I believe the original poster confused a burqa with the hijab. A burqa covers a person from head to wrist and ankle. The hijab, which is what I've seen most frequently here in Minnesota, covers the hair and often the neck, leaving the face exposed.

Let's not nitpick. I understood the original post referred to the headscarf. I'm certain you did too. Stick to the topic and we might have a useful discussion.


Wow, I didn't know that the people who read the Star Tribune are so racist. Legally, cashiers are not allowed to scan an alcohol purchase if they are under the age of 18, and would call someone else over to scan the item for them. This does not cause delays for customers, so I don't see how the pork issue would either.

I am so glad that Terry pointed out that "...we spek english here," although I am not sure what the word "spek" means. Maybe someone should take some english classes?

muslims and pork

son's girlfriend is Muslim and does not eat pork.however, she has no problem helping me put away pizzas and bacon when i come home from shopping. She says as long as the product is wrapped, she's not really touching it.I agree with her. If it's wrapped, what's the problem?

Target workers

Now I don't claim to be an expert on Muslim laws regarding pork, but it seems to me that they are not handling pork, just a package that happens to contain pork. I can see why a Muslim butcher would have a problem, but a cashier?

So what? Your trip to

So what? Your trip to Target took maybe 5 minutes more. Who cares. Stop looking for villains and live life.

yeah, and i was hoping you

yeah, and i was hoping you would show up at my job and do my work for me because it offends me to have to do my job.

freedom of religion

Means you will not be killed or discriminated against because of where or how you worship.

No one will force you to eat pork or drink alcohol.

However, your beliefs do not make you a protected class when it comes o job duties.

A company needs to stand up and take this to court, or a legislator needs to grow some balls.

P.S. Christians are not discriminated against. PLEASE get over that nonsense.

RE: "uncomfortable..."

Be a man and ring it up yourself? Are you kidding? i dont give 2 cents if Jesus didn't eat pork... that doesn't make it a bad food choice... THE BOTTOM LINE IS IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH DOING YOUR JOB, BE IT FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS, OR WHATEVER OTHER EXCUSE YOU WANT TO USE, TOUGH!!! GET A NEW JOB!!!!!

Hey don’t throw that

Hey don’t throw that racist crap into this debate! Those who cant discuss this issue like like adults should stay out of the debate. This has nothing to do with race and all to do with religion.

If your religion prevents you in any way from doing your assigned job then you shouldn’t take that job PERIOD. (Reasonable people with such conflicts wouldn’t even apply for a job that interferes with their religious beliefs. But there is NO reasonable people left I’m afraid)

Its funny its those who yell the loudest about Christian religious influence in our society that are the first to throw up the race card when it comes to debates on this issue.

RE: Muslim workers at Target refuse to handle pork

As has been the case for hundreds of years, if you're going to live in America, you adapt to the ways of America. If you won't adapt, then you shouldn't have come here, and you shouldn' stay here.

But if it's in plastic?

My question is: If the pork is sealed in plastic, does this still constitute touching pork? I respect others religious beliefs but don't see the logic. They are not directly touching the pork, therefore they should be able to scan it...yes?

argument fails

Who’s the condescending smuck who feels a need to point out other peoples spelling errors. Oh the same smuck who call us all racists.

Must be a lefty, because when you can’t win the argument with logic, then go for the name-calling and put-downs!

bacon fence

Maybe we should build a fence of bacon around the country to keep the pricks out.

Muslims working at Target et al

If the job requirements are lifting a 50 lb box, you should be able to do it or not or be given the job.
Same here -- if job requirements are that you may have to handle pork and you can not, then do not take the job. Nor should the employer give you the job. It is not discrimination, it is a matter of fulfilling a job's requirement. Plain and simple.

We have all kinds of job requirements that are based on age, ability to do the job, etc. The fact that religion makes this person not able to fulfill the job requirements is that persons problem, not the ours or the company.

pork jihad

I never stop laughing at the inferior infidels as we cause them anger as we slowly take over their land. And you are so ignorant you don't even see it happening. Seriously, you don't deserve a country.

Are you kidding me? They

Are you kidding me? They should be fired on the spot. Clearly they are incapable of performing their duties and should be relieved of such... actually they should never have applied to be a cashier if they can't handle pork.


If anyone Muslim cannot touch pork in line of work then he must go and not work with food anymore until he learns that it is not part of his religion if he has to work with food.

If I refused to wait on Muslims

If I were to refuse to do business with Muslims I'd be a racist but they can refuse to drive me in a cab or make me wait to ring up my pork products. I'd probably even get sued.

If I were to move to a Muslim dominated country would I be able to observe all of my beliefs however I wanted and in public.


Thanks to all of you that donate to the churches and brought these folks here in the first place. Now your complaining about these people. Many times I am on flights that have people coming from other countries with sponsers waiting at the airport, like Lutheren Brotherhood. You get what you pay for and now you have something to complain about. Keep up the social system Minnesota!! Looks like its working fine!

Muslims at Target

Can't we all just try to be a little more accepting and have a little more tolerance? I personally like the fact that we have such a diverse world and a diverse community right here in Minnesota. That diversity requires acceptance, understanding,tolerance, and above all, respect. I understand that various religious groups have different beliefs and practices. I am glad that we have "faith-filled" people in our community. I think we could use more people truly committed to their religious beliefs. Muslims need jobs too and contribute great things to society. So, if you come across a Muslim working in a grocery store, and they ask you to scan your pork product because it is against their beliefs to handle that, then so what? Is it that big of a deal? Scan it and move on. There are more important issues in the world.

There are pharmacists

There are pharmacists refusing to give out birth control pills and you people are concerned about a person (who is not making a living wage) refusing to touch your Jimmy Dean? wow. Is this really an issue? If you dont like it, dont shop at Target. You can start your own store and fill it with employees who think and look exactly like you! Oh wait...i am sure you are willing to do mind-numbing labor for 8 bucks an hour.

Thank You

This was the most reasoned comment I have seen in a long time. Thank you.

Muslims & Pork

Amen!! Why is it that our laws don't allow us to use our Christian beliefs to decide what and how we do our job. Now, let me start by saying I am dating a Muslim man, and have changed what I cook because of his beliefs, but when he is not dining with me, I will pull out the bacon for a good ole fashion BLT. However, he has never frowned on me because of our differences in beliefs. On that note, many Muslims are taking their 5 breaks a day to make their prayers, and many employers are accomodating this. Well, can you please tell me why I have to work on Good Friday, Ash Wednesday, etc???? If my company doesn't recognize these holidays then I am required to work them. We need to take a stand on what is or is not allowed.... this is AMERICA and was built on "IN GOD WE TRUST"

I am so sick of this. People

I am so sick of this. People need to get a grip on reality! If you have a job, you do the job. If you can't do the job, find another job. I don't care what your race, religion,fath, belief, cause etc. is, just to the job you were hired to do.

Muslims not handling pork

This incident is very similar to the issue of Muslims not accepting cab fares if riders have alcohol. This group of people should not be allowed to force their beliefs on everyone else. I respect their beliefs as theirs, but I shouldn't be affected by them. We are supposed to be a country where separation of church and state rules. Their beliefs should not hinder their chosen jobs. If their beliefs don't allow them to perform their tasks, they should find different jobs.

A little harsh...

I understand why some people are frustrated with this, but to get upset over this when you haven't experienced it doesn't make sense to me. There are ways to compromise in situations like this so that both parties are satisfied.
I actually had a similar situation occur at the Knollwood Super Target and didn't even realize what had happened until after I left the store with my purchases. I believe I had purchased some bacon that day and when it came to be the next thing to ring up, the woman turned on her flashing light and continued to ring up the other things that were behind it on the counter. Another employee came up, switched places with her, rang up the bacon, and left. She then continued to finish ringing up my purchases and neither she nor myself were any worse off because of it. Maybe other stores haven't adapted to this way of dealing with the situation, and maybe some Muslim employees will still react in a disgusted manner even when they are told to deal with it in the way that I encountered. However, there are compromises that don't affect the service we receive and I am just fine with those solutions.

I think this is all a bunch

I think this is all a bunch of garbage. If people, I don't care what your religious affiliations are, can't do the job, they don't keep the job. Why do we hold muslims in a different esteem than anyone else? If I don't do my described job, then I don't keep my job....there is no grey area. If you can't handle pork or pork products, you don't get a job at a grocery store where....GASP....pork is sold!!! Likewise for cab drivers. Cabs are sometimes the only method of transportation available, especially downtown in the entertainment district. I am so sick of all the political correctness in todays society. We are far too worried about offending people.


Jesus also was without sin. Can YOU follow him that well?

Acclimate to Society

I have lived in many parts of the US growing up, and I do agree that there are certain immigrant groups that do not want to acclimate to living in the United States, which makes it more difficult for everyone else. My in-laws own a pizza business that has been effected by Muslims that want to work at their bussiness, but refuse to handle pork, which is put on about 75% if all pizzas. It's oxmoronic to want to be employed in a profession where you expect your employer to 100% recognize your religous beliefs & accomodate that. I work in the government, and the county is not giving me a paid day off the pray to the tree gods, if my religion calls for it, nor do I expect my employer to bend over backwards to respect my religous beliefs. If i refused to do part of my job, I would be FIRED!

Leylla, Thanks very much for

Thanks very much for your logical post. We need more moderates like yourself to speak out like this in order to keep America free as opposed to sucuming to Sharia.

I hear they have Islamic Christmas Carols now, too

I saw a place on the web where the Muslims have their own versions of traditional Christmas Carols.
It's here:

I'm very disturbed that we seem to be developing two sets of laws; one for Muslims, one for everyone else.
That's not "diversity," that's discrimination.
As someone posted above, what if a Christian worker refused to check out halal or Kosher food?
What is the difference between halal and Kosher? Did the Muslims copy the Jews' Kosher when they came up with "halal?"


Doesn't matter. They are all going to hell.

More Self-checkout lanes

The answer for the retailer is to install more self-checkout lanes. This way there's no concern over "handling" of food and many of these jobs can go away as a result. Is this really the result these workers want to see?

find a different job

Muslims in this country should conform to be able to work. If they don't like it then either go back to your home country where you don't have to handle pork or find a different job.

As a mainstream white guy I find it ridiculous all the preferential treatment that Muslims as a group get, just because they think Islam rocks. I don't think Islam rocks. Your choice is your choice and mine is mine, but employers shouldn't have to bend over backwords because of a choice you made. You could choose to have a different job or a different religion.

Stop whining about alcohol in taxis, guide dogs in taxis, needing prayer rooms, etc... and just work. It won't kill you.

Please note, I have no problem per se with Muslims and Islam itself. It's a choice. However, don't push your choices on me and make me change my way of life.

Sure you would

right up to the moment they took your head off in the local town square.


It's called "enculturation". If someone doesn't want to enculturate, they can go back home. Europe has a problem now, because a whole seperate culture hasn't enculturated.

Pork at Target

This isn't about handling pork, it's about an agenda. These people want to force the issue.


I am saddened that so many Minnesotans appear to be intolerant.
I agree that it would probably be good policy for Target to have their Muslim employees that don't want to touch pork man the dressing rooms or work in the tech area instead of the checkout. However, I respect other people's right to follow the laws of their religion when it doesn't infringe on my own. There are plenty of other things to worry about in life instead of the extra 10 seconds it takes to call someone over to scan your bacon.

Muslim issues

Dear Muslim population: Working as a cashier means you handle pork. Working as a cab driver means that liquor and dogs are part of the fare. If you can't handle that find another line of work. I am sick of your crying victim over these kinds of issues. The religion is your choice. Stop trying to make it ours.

Budweiser Jihadist

I work with a Pakistani Muslim who went to St.Cloud State in the 90’s. The guys a “Budweiser Jihadist”.

Maybe that’s the solution. Run all the Muslim immigrants through St. Cloud State for four years and problem solved!

When does it stop

I am on anti-depressants. Can a Scientologist refuse to give me a ride in their cab?

When does it stop.

Allah punished some Jews by