London, June 27 : British Transport Police sniffer dogs trained to spot terrorists at railway stations may no longer come into contact with Muslim passengers after complaints that it is against the suspects' religion.
A Transport Department report has raised the prospect that animals should only touch passengers' luggage because it is considered "more acceptable", the Daily Express reported.
In the Muslim faith, dogs are deemed to be spiritually "unclean",.but banning them from touching passengers would severely restrict their ability to do their job.
The report follows the trials of station security measures in the wake of the 2005 London suicide bomb attacks. In one trial, some female Muslims said the use of a body scanner was also unacceptable because it was tantamount to being forced to strip.
British Transport Police last night insisted that it would still use sniffer dogs - which are trained to detect explosives - with any passengers regardless of faith, but handlers would remain aware of "cultural sensitivities".
Critics said the complaints were just the latest example of minority religions trying to force their rules and morals on British society.
News of the security setback came as the British Government on Thursday admitted that installing 100 per cent airport-style screening at rail and Tube stations was not feasible.
During the trials, passengers stopped in London had the exterior of their bags checked by dogs.
But in Brighton, dogs patrolled the station concourse and were walked past passengers by their handlers.
Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said even dogs touching baggage would be an issue for a Muslim preparing to pray.
But he stressed that it should be easy to allow dogs to check passengers without physical contact.
Transport Minister Tom Harris said: "We will continue to work with British Transport Police and rail operators to assess the effectiveness and impact of these new measures.
"We will use this evidence, and that from elsewhere in the UK and abroad, to develop further ways of keeping the travelling public secure using proportionate measures," he added.