Daniel Jones, 23, founder of the Star Wars-inspired International Church of Jediism, has
accused supermarket giant Tesco of religious discrimination after the company
ordered him to remove his Jedi hood or leave its store in Bangor, north Wales.
In the first reported case of religious discrimination against Jedis, Mr. Jones
claims he has been “victimised over his beliefs” and left “emotionally
humiliated” by the incident.
“It states in Jedi doctrine that you have a choice of wearing headwear in
your home or at work, but you must wear a cover for your head when
you’re in public,” he said.
Mr. Jones – who also goes by the Jedi name Morda Hehol – went to the store to
buy a sandwich during his lunch break when staff approached him and ordered him
to the checkout where they explained he would have to remove his hood.
“They said: “Take it off”, and I said “No, its part of my religion. It’s
part of my religious right.” I even gave them a Jedi church business card.”
But, they refused to listen:
“They were rude and not very nice. Three people surrounded me. It was
“It was discrimination. They made jokes about me. I was really upset.
Nobody should be treated like that.
“We have 500,000 members in our church.”
The Empire Strikes Back
A spokesperson for Tesco struck back, saying: “Jedis are very welcome to shop
in our stores, although we would ask them to remove their hoods.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever
going over to the Dark Side and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who
never removed his hood.
“If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they’ll miss lots of
Religious Discrimination Law
Under UK anti-discrimination and human rights law, everyone has a right
to practice their religion or belief without experiencing threats or
In some circumstances, however, indirect
discrimination – for example, banning the wearing of hoods (which indirectly
discriminates against Jedis) – on grounds of religion or belief may be justifiable. But only if it is considered to be a proportionate means of
achieving a legitimate aim.
For a business to justify indirect discrimination, they must show there is a
genuine business need for a policy that is a particular disadvantage to
a certain religion or belief, and that there is no reasonable alternative to it.
Thus, Tesco might justify its ban on wearing hoods as a means to identify
shoppers and prevent shoplifting – which would qualify as a genuine business
need – and argue there is no reasonable alternative to an outright hood ban.
** Additional information & advice **
You can obtain further information about religious discrimination from the Equality and
Human Rights Commission.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, however, it may be better to speak with a solicitor. You can be matched with a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor
matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of
action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.
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