Not Kosher: Gazette's editorial intolerant

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Accommodating food needs is prudent within reason”
Mar. 28, 2007

To the Editor
The March 28 editorial suggested Muslim and Jewish students could adapt the limitations of their menus by not following Halal and Kosher standards. As far as my understanding of these two faiths goes, diet laws are just as fundamental to Muslims and Jews as the Criminal Code is in our eyes. Encouraging Jewish and Muslim students not to restrict themselves to diet laws is just as serious as telling an average person murder is acceptable. Intentionally or not, the editors insulted two faiths at one time.

Also, the editors are very concerned with the possibility of extra cost on Western’s non-Muslims and non-Jews because of the introduction of Halal and Kosher food in the campus. If so, does that mean the students who don’t read The Gazette should get a portion of their tuition refunded as The Gazette incurred an extra cost to them?

The editorial claimed Western, as a business, couldn’t always answer the needs of all the diverse groups for the sake of profitability. But let’s imagine TTC or London Transit stopped providing accessibility for disabled citizens by suggesting this would lower their profit. Obviously, such actions are socially irresponsible and public outrage would arise. Hence, Western would be equally socially irresponsible if it refused to provide Halal or Kosher meals on campus, considering eating is just as fundamental as travelling.

Furthermore, Western is responsible to the public, not just to its income statement, since it receives governmental funding. This editorial perfectly reflects some of the editors’ intolerance towards visible minorities in the Western community. I think the editors of The Gazette owe the Western Jewish and Muslim community an apology.
"Warren Au

Ed. Note: The Gazette never encouraged Muslim and Jewish students to adapt or abandon their dietary traditions. The Gazette simply said some Muslim and Jewish students choose to do so.

To the Editor:
Of course the cost of religious diet accommodations would be borne by students not requiring them. This is true for every minority accommodation in our society, whether it’s making university buildings wheelchair-accessible at the cost of all students or making government buildings wheelchair-accessible at the cost of all taxpayers. Any other solution would result in howls of “Discrimination!”

If we’re really as tolerant and accommodating of diversity as we like to think we are, we must be prepared to pony up the dough to provide the accommodations. Otherwise, we’re just blowing a lot of hot air.
"Adam Kope

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