We often see crazy stories with the header “Only in America…”
Well try this one from ‘The Times’ for size – it happened in Wales (that’s the small country attached to, and just West of, England). A man has accused Tesco, the grocery retail giant, of religious discrimination…because they asked him to lower his Jedi Knight hood!
A Jedi knight was kicked out of a Tesco store because he refused to take off his hood. Daniel Jones is the founder of the International Church of Jediism, which supposedly has 500,000 followers living in dank bedsits around the world. He is claiming religious discrimination and insists that he was “hurt” by his experience. Tesco has attempted to respond light-heartedly, insisting that Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker have all been pictured without their hoods. Jones himself had been pictured unhooded on his website. “But would you ask a Muslim woman to remove her veil?” I asked a Tesco spokesman. “No,” the chap replied, sighing, and knowing he was in for a horrible weekend, “we wouldn’t.”
Oh dear; there are plenty of modern Muslims who will tell you that there is no religious requirement to wear a veil. This is a clear case of religious discrimination, then. Tesco has now said that Jedi knights will be welcomed to its store, but must take off their hoods, ha ha. I think Tesco doesn’t take the International Church of Jediism with any seriousness at all and it is time for Shami Chakrabarti, the police and the European Court of Human Rights to get involved.
In fact this story is everywhere, probably because Britain has clasped Jedi Knights firmly to its bosom. In the 2001 UK census, 390 000 people claimed their religion to be “Jedi Knight”, making it the fourth largest reported religion in the country.
How come? Well, there may be the odd one or two who actually believe they are Jedi Knights (and I’m suspecting that Daniel Jones may be one of them), but most people simply wanted to protest at being asked what they considered a personal question, but in a typically British way, decided to make it rather tongue-in-cheek.
So anyway, if you were considering popping in to Tesco today in your full Jedi get-up, remember Yoda say “Proud of being Jedi, be you. But hood down, put you, if Tesco shop at you want to”.
May the farce be with you.