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Misleading Protest Message Calls for KFC Boycott Due to Halal Hand Wipe Rules


Protest message circulating via Facebook calls for a boycott of KFC after staff at a halal KFC branch in Leicester, UK, refused to give a customer hand wipes because they contain alcohol and might therefore break Islamic rules.

Kfc Boycott
© lucianmilasan

Brief Analysis

The incident described did take place. However, the protest message is misleading. The withdrawal of the wipes was simply the result of staff misunderstanding about Islamic rules and was not due to pressure from the Islamic community. In fact, there are no Islamic rules about using alcohol as a cleansing agent and the alcohol hand wipes are approved for use in halal restaurants. (Please review detailed analysis below for more information.)


Staff at an halal KFC branch in Leicester refuse to give a customer hand wipes - because they contain alcohol, forbidden by the Koran! Fight back against the encroach of halal and Islamic rules. BOYCOTT KFC! Britain First

Detailed Analysis

Protest Message Calls For KFC Boycott After Alcohol Hand Wipe Refusal

A circulating protest message that comes via the right-wing 'patriot' group 'Britain First' calls for a boycott of KFC in response to an incident in which a customer was refused hand wipes at a halal KFC store in Leicester, UK.

According to the message, staff at the store would not give a customer the hand wipes because they contain alcohol and would therefore be forbidden under Islamic rules.

The message suggests that non-Muslims fight back against this supposed pandering to Islam by boycotting KFC so that the company only gets Muslim customers.

Incident Did Occur But Protest Message is Misleading

The incident described did take place. However, the refusal to supply the hand wipes was not in response to demands from the Islamic community as suggested in the protest message. Instead, it was simply due to a misunderstanding about Islamic rules by staff at the store.

While Islamic rules do forbid the consumption of alcohol, there are no rules that forbid the use of alcohol in hand wipes or similar products. The alcohol impregnated hand wipes are approved and used in halal restaurants.

An article about the incident in The Telegraph notes:

"They have made a mountain out of a molehill," said Dr Sheik Howjat Ramzy, director of the Oxford Islamic Information Centre. Pointing out that Muslims had used alcohol for medicine and hygiene for centuries, he explained: "There is no problem as long as we don’t drink it: if it is for medicine it is no problem, if it is a perfume it is no problem and if it is for hygiene that is no problem."
The KFC store where the incident took place was one of around 100 selected UK stores participating in a trial offering halal chicken. Staff at the Leicester store were instructed not to supply the hand wipes in case the wipes contravened Islamic rules about alcohol. But, as noted, there is actually no such rule and the decision was certainly not driven by demands or expectations from Muslim customers. It was thus just a case of store management erring on the side of caution because of the halal trial and because they did not have the correct information.

Continued Circulation of the Message Unfair and Unnecessary

Given the real story behind the incident, it is unfair to wield it as a weapon against the Islamic community. To reiterate, the incident was not driven by pressure from Muslim customers and the use of alcohol wipes is not against Islamic rules.

Spreading such misleading protests just increases tension and hatred between sectors of communities and gives ammunition to the bigoted.

KFC boycott

© canadapanda

Last updated: September 30, 2014
First published: September 30, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
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