Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where’s My Halal Food?

The New Jersey City University cafeteria does not cater to Muslims who have a religious obligation to eat halal food. There are many cultural foods ranging from Italian to Spanish dishes that are served, but the one important choice the cafeteria does not have is for people with religious restrictions.

"NJCU is very diverse and full of multiple religions. It is not fair to serve one group of people and force all others to adjust," Rita Rosario, 19, Psychology, Hoboken.

In particular, Islam and Judaism dictate a need for food restrictions. Specifically, for Muslims Halal food is embedded into ones culture and upbringing and for Jewish individuals kosher not only pertains to food but is considered a way of life.

What is Halal food?

In Arabic the word halal means lawful or permitted. A Muslim has a set of rules or standards to live by and one of those is that they must follow certain dietary guidelines (Halal foods). All foods are considered to be halal except particular substances specified in the Qur'an. For example, Muslim believe that pork is harmful to their health because it is unsanitary.

Muslims can only eat meat from animals that were living when slaughtered to ensure that there is no blood in the meat when it is eaten. Animals must be freshly killed in a humanitarian way in order to be considered halal.

"Halal food plays a big role in or religion. Our university is bent on educating students about all individual religions, backgrounds, and culture. I do not understand why the cafeteria finds it difficult to be open towards all different eating habits and choices," Maysa Abdelrazeq, 19, Political Science of Cliffside Park.

The fact that NJCU does not serve halal food can be construed as an insult to the Muslim student body because there is a substantial number of Muslims who attend NJCU and are proud of the diversity and acceptance it offers. Leaving students without a viable option when they want a bite to eat is not acceptable.

Halal meat is more expensive than normal meat because its specifications and demand are high. The benefits of halal food are numerous health wise because it is cleaner and less likely to have risks. By adding halal foods to the cafeteria menu more Muslim students will be able to eat in the cafeteria as opposed to packing lunch or eating at home. As a whole, it gives NJCU the satisfaction of being culturally driven and show religious acceptability.

It is sad that halal food is not included in a lot of seemingly diverse cities. When a person goes to the food court at the mall they don't see a food stand advertising halal foods. Are the 1. 8 billion Muslims in America supposed to refrain from eating in every public place they attend because the food industry does not include Muslims? The American Fast food chains don't offer anything even remotely Halal on their menu. America prides itself on the different cultures, but they don't take other cultures into consideration. I guess this melting pot doesn't allow halal ingredients.

Courtesy By:The Gothic Times

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