Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Do you know where your meat has been?

What type of meat do you eat? Do you only eat certain types of meats, say beef or chicken? If so, do you know where your meat comes from or how it is processed?
As a practitioner of Islam, I am only allowed to eat meat that is "halal," or in other words, the Jewish concept of kosher. Halal is an Arabic word meaning "permissible." Kosher, according to the Jewish website, is a Hebrew term that means "fit or proper."
So where do the laws of which meats I can and cannot consume come from?
According to the same website, both of dietary laws go back to the guidelines outlined in the Holy Quran for Muslims, and the Torah, or Holy Bible, for those practicing Judaism.  
So why should you care if Muslims and Jews are catered to on the campus?
A major point regarding catering to different groups on campus is that it allows the university to promote "a sense of community."
According to the Office of Institutional Research, there isn't any data or reports on the numbers of Muslim and Jewish students on campus. However, based on the 2007 Campus Climate Service Report, "75 percent of the respondents think that Sac State should place an emphasis on promoting a sense of community."
Though, can food "promote a sense of community," and bring different types of people together?
"Yes, and this is why we have many ethnic food choices on campus such as Gyro 2 Go, Mother India Express, Saigon Bay Express, Crepe de Paris, etc." said Ruedi Egger, director of Dining Services at University Enterprises Incorporated.
So, does that mean the Sac State campus caters to the Muslim and Jewish community as a whole, with regards to campus eateries?
I asked around campus and many of the eateries were familiar with kosher; however, they did not serve any kosher meats.
"Dining Services does not cater to any specific religious or ethnic group," Egger said. "We cater to the campus community as a whole depending on survey results and our capabilities."
However, there is an outlet for Muslims to eat on campus. The new Gyros 2 Go in the River Front Center, provides halal meat to the general Muslim body on campus.
I asked where the Gyros 2 Go meat came from.
"The halal meat we get is brought all the way from New York," said Wahida Kakar, Sac State alumna and owner of the Gyros 2 Go in the River Front Center.
Kakar said she knows the person who sends her the halal meat and that the business that she runs is a family trade.
"I can give you the name and the number of the man I get my halal meat from, he is central to our business not only in the east coast but also in the west coast, as well," Kakar said.
So what about catering to the Jewish students on campus? If we now have an outlet for Muslims to eat on campus, shouldn't we have an eatery for the Jewish students as well?
Some Jewish students think that having a kosher eatery on campus would be too complicated and that having a vegetarian eating place such as Fresh Choice would be better, not only for Jews but for Muslims as well.
"Many youth are keeping kosher for ecological reasons—however, having a vegetarian institution on campus would better serve the needs of both populations - it's nice to serve the Jewish populations needs, but the process for practicing kosher are complex and most Jews will bring their own food or they will be lenient on the institutions in which they buy their food from," said Sheree L. Meyer, associate dean for Undergraduate Studies for Academic Affairs, and a self-considered liberal Jew.
The rules for practicing kosher are complex. Some rules include not mixing meat with dairy; your cheese pizza, for example, cannot have any pepperoni on top. Other examples would include keeping all your silverware separate, Meyer said.
"Personally, I don't keep kosher; however, I do try to understand the reasons behind the dietary laws of Kashrut," Meyer said.
I hope for the near future both Muslims and Jews will see a number of halal and kosher eateries on campus. Having such eateries on campus will not only affect both Muslims and Jews, but more and more people should know where their meat is coming from and how it is processed; through the dietary laws of both Muslims and Jews, people will find it easy to have access to clean, and natural meat.
Furthermore, do yourself a favor, the next time you get hungry, open your horizons and visit a place that is culturally different from your own, in hopes that you will become a more tolerant, respectful, and understanding human being. 

Courtesy By: The State 

No comments:

Post a Comment