PROTESTORS have launched an internet campaign asking people to boycott a sandwich retailer for only stocking Halal meat in two of its stores in Manchester.
Campaigners have set up a group on social networking website Facebook asking users to support them in pressurising the Subway restaurant chain to "offer all its customers the freedom to choose" whether they eat ritually prepared or traditionally prepared meat.
The stores, in Cheetham Hill and Levenshulme, stock only certified Halal meats, which are prepared for consumption according to Muslim religious practice.
"We believe this discriminates against non-Muslim customers," wrote one of the group's administrators. "Our intention is not to deprive the Muslim customers the right to Halal products, but we must be free to decide."
The group hope to encourage supporters to avoid buying Subway products, send a letter of concern to the company and also to sign their petition, which they intend to present to the company's chief executive.
A spokesman for Subway said: "The Subway chain has over 70 stores in the Manchester and Greater Manchester area, of which several serve a range of certified Halal meats.
"The Halal stores reflect an increased demand from the local Muslim community for Halal certified products.
"Subway stores aim to cater for the whole community, by offering subs that everyone can enjoy, and should customers wish to eat non-Halal meats at a Subway store in Manchester, there are many others to choose from."
Cheetham councillor Afzal Khan, a former lead member for race equality, said: "The company's decision to serve Halal meat in these two areas seems to me to be a commercial decision.
"If they have stopped providing non-Halal meat, then the management must have concluded that there are not many meat eaters who object to eating it.
"Through this policy they can make their business viable and more profitable. I would support any action which provides service to many diverse groups living in our vibrant city."