UK Mother Told She Couldn’t Breastfeed to Avoid Offending Muslims
A U.K. woman said she was told to leave a community center after she tried to breastfeed her five-month-old son, out of concern that she would offend Muslim visitors.
According to the Daily Mail, a receptionist told Emma Mitchell the center was a “multicultural building” and suggested she continue in the privacy of a restroom. After Mitchell argued, a manager permitted her to use an empty room under supervision.
“She said ‘Oh no, we don’t allow that in here. We’ve had that many complaints that we don’t allow it.’”
“I told her my son was hungry and I didn’t want to have to go away and come back.”
According to Ms. Mitchell a manager then said “You absolutely can’t do that here.”
Despite being offered the empty room, Mitchell said she was so upset that she had to leave to continue the feeding in her car.
“If someone from another culture started praying in the waiting room, I wouldn’t say, ‘Excuse me, you’re offending me’ I would respect it because it’s their culture.
“So I shouldn’t be made to feel what I wanted to do was wrong just because it’s not in their culture.
Afterward, local councilman Shoab Akhtar issued a statement defending the incident, saying despite the center’s support for breastfeeding, it does not have the proper facilities for doing so. Later that same day, he issued a second statement to “unreservedly apologize” for Mitchell’s treatment.
“[S]taff are now aware that they should make every reasonable effort to assist a mother’s need to breastfeed – whether she requests the use of a private room or otherwise,” Akhtar said.
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