Halal food debate

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Not kosher: Gazette’s editorial intolerant”
Apr. 3, 2007

To the Editor:
Recently, The Gazette has been flooded with letters raising issues of discrimination across campus. Warren Au and Adam Kope brought up a series of points claiming the efforts to make Halal products readily available in the University Community Centre are seriously flawed.

It’s important to note Western is a secular school; it’s here to provide students with a degree/diploma, not to emulate the religious upbringings students may have experienced before attending Western. While students are free to pursue whatever faith they choose, by no means will the university cater to each and every student’s non-secular needs. Hospitality Services’ choice to provide Halal products was a considerate effort, not a required one.

Au and Kope complained charging a premium to students who purchase Halal products is comparable to charging a physically disabled person extra for boarding a wheelchair-accessible bus. The difference lies in the fact that the paralyzed person never asked for their disability, while a Jewish or Muslim person chose to embrace certain aspects of their religion. Because of this, only those who purchase Kosher and Halal meals should bear the premium price. If the demand for these meals fails to meet expectations and Hospitality Services fails to break even, the venture will be scrapped. In this case, a large deep freezer and a good butcher are highly recommended.

Au’s argument that Western is responsible to the public because it receives government funding is also ridiculous. Western receives money from the government to enhance all students’ academic experience, not to ensure that the cafeteria menu meets the standards set by a few. In the meantime, the university will allocate its budget to more serious and widespread needs " the shortage of medical support for depressed students, for instance.

Lastly, Au equates the act of a devout Jew or Muslim eating food prohibited by “diet laws” to murder; unless the traditional method of slaughtering animals is considered murder, this point is mere propaganda.

Hospitality Services’ decision to supply Halal products was meant to appease those in need of the products, not to spur more complaints. Western is a secular school run much like any other business. Live with it.
"Adam Pieczonka
Economics II

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