Food choices emphasize diversity

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Food choices emphasize diversity

Photo by Kelly Hinderberger / Associate Photo Editor

Photo by Kelly Hinderberger / Associate Photo Editor

Photo by Kelly Hinderberger / Associate Photo Editor

Photo by Kelly Hinderberger / Associate Photo Editor

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Photo by Kelly Hinderberger / Associate Photo Editor

For years, Muslim students who followed Islamic dietary laws were unable to eat any meat products on campus. That changed this semester, as Chartwells Dining Services decided to incorporate menus around campus that offer meat prepared according to Islamic ruling.

“It’s really nice that they have Halal options now, because a lot of Muslims would have to eat like vegetarians here,” junior Imman Musa said. “At least we have some more options of what we could eat.”

Halal translates to “permissible,” and comprises regulations for all the foods Muslims are permitted to eat.

The food preparation procedures are identified in the Quran.

Meat is prepared according to Zabiha, a slaughtering method in which animals are quickly killed with a sharp knife in the name of God, ensuring that they experience little suffering. Although not always a requirement of the Muslim religion, as access to such food may be limited, Halal is the ideal way to eat within Islamic law.

Last year, some Muslim students said they were dissatisfied with the dining options on campus, and felt that their choices were limited. Director of Dining Services Paul Taylor said the initiative to offer Halal foods was brought to Chartwells’ attention by STLHalal, an organization that teamed with the Muslim Student Association to promote awareness of the lack of Halal foods offered on campus.

Currently, the Halal-prepared foods are offered at the Griesedieck Dining Hall and through the Outtakes program at the Grand Market Place, Fusz Food Court and Ameren Cafe. Although strides have been made, some students have expressed concern for the kinds of Halal food offered. Senior Abdullah Shoaib said that the new line of foods are mostly Indian and Arabic, and that he would like to see American variants.

“We get enough of that at home,” Shoaib said. “We want food we would never be able to have at home, like toasted ravioli, turkey sandwiches and Buffalo wings.”

Taylor said he remains open to meal suggestions and that Chartwells would be willing to implement those suggestions, including more American options, into the menu.

In addition to ensuring that Halal foods are brought to campus correctly, Taylor said he hopes that the reaction to the new food options will be positive. As part of the new initiatives, Taylor said Chartwells intends to create more themed international meals each month in the Griesedieck and Reinert Dining Halls. Taylor said he encourages students to bring forward recipes for certain foods that have not yet been offered.