As I joined my fellow work colleagues for lunch last week, I was unsure about what to eat. The gentleman sitting next to me advised that there was ‘firecracker chicken’ that looked nice, to which I responded ‘oh, I only eat halal meat so I will give it a miss’. The gentleman smiled and continued to eat his jacket potatoe.
The conversation then led to what everyone was up to over the weekend and people talked about getting ‘pissed’ and ‘hammered’ for the weekend. I just said that the only thing I would be drinking was tea as I don’t drink alcohol. This led to a colleague asking me why that was. So as you do, I explained that I was a Muslim and due to my Religious believes, I did not consume alcohol. The guy eating the jacket potato then said oh ‘alcohol is my religion’ and said it’s all ‘fucking bollocks’ referring to religion and belief.
At that moment in time, I just sat there feeling numb. This was a social worker having such strong opinions about others belief. The whole values and ethics of being a social worker is to be anti- discriminatory and anti-oppressive. Yet he had the audacity to sit and speak about religion with such disrespect and hatred.
I mean imagine if I started to have such hateful and aggressive opinion about the fact that his religion is alcohol. No doubt I would be labelled as an extremist or some other bull shit.