A disturbed customer quickly took out her cell phone and secretly recorded a 7-Eleven employee’s “ritual” before posting it online. After a serious backlash, the Muslim clerk was under investigation for what he insists is his “religious” right.
When Emily Divel walked into a Roseville 7-Eleven, the Michigan resident’s shopping experience was interrupted when she noticed that one of the employees was taking a break from serving behind the counter to perform a simple religious ritual. However, she couldn’t believe her eyes when the clerk removed his shoes and lifted his feet one-by-one to the drink counter.
Divel secretly recorded the convenience store attendant washing his dirty feet in the sink next to the coffee machine. The unidentified man is a Muslim employee who was performing ablution, which is the mandatory bathing ritual carried out before each of the five daily Islamic prayers. He was washing his feet, arms, and face in the sink designated for handwashing.
For millions of Americans, faith doesn’t end at the punch of the clock. However, most citizens also don’t require any sort of special privilege when it comes to adhering to their religious duties, especially that of prayer.
Of course, there remains a small minority of religious followers whose strict compulsions mandate their daily routine. In fact, even something as simple as hygiene is a major factor for millions who follow the tenets of Islam.
Disturbed by the man washing his feet just inches away from the drink prep station, Emily Divel posted the video to social media, according to WXYZ. What she didn’t expect was that a heated and controversial debate would ensue.
“As I walked in I could hear him loudly spitting in the sink,” Divel said.
It was only after the man audibly spat in the same sink that Divel saw him stepping out of his flip-flops and raising his bare feet to the faucet. He then proceeded to wash himself with only water in the sink across from the grill station, which houses food products.
After viewing the footage, Action News headed to the convenience store, located on Gratiot and 13 Mile Road, and confronted the employee. The man, who remains unnamed, grinned as he was shown the recording of himself bathing in the sink. He then explained that such actions are mandatory in his religion.
“It was for my prayer time,” the man told Action News. “Wash your hands, face, and feet.”
When asked if he believed it was appropriate to do in the public sink in full view of the customers, he answered that he only did it “when the public was not there.” Of course, once the reporter pointed out that the recording was taken when “the public was there,” the employee merely stated, “Actually, it was my prayer time.”
State health inspectors have confirmed that they are investigating possible unsanitary conditions. Additionally, 7-Eleven officials assured the public that an internal investigation is underway.
7-Eleven released a statement: “We take the cleanliness of 7-Eleven stores very seriously so thank you for making us aware of this incident and allowing us to investigate this matter.”
So much emphasis has been placed on religious rights that we are foregoing the responsibilities that come along with said rights. While religious freedom must be protected, there is a fine line between one man’s rights and another’s safety.