Monday, April 17, 2006

Towers Dining Hall as begun Halal, a Muslim Food Station, that offers a meat, vegetable and starch at each meal.
Towers Adds Muslim Offerings
Brittany Dorn
Posted: 4/13/06

A new food station was opened at Towers Dining Hall April 3 to meet the dietary needs of Muslim students. According to Towers Chef Blair Davis, the station provides a meat, vegetable and starch at each meal. He said the station was set to be a permanent fixture at the dining hall. The station serves food Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and then from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. for dinner, according to an announcement from the Department of Dining Services. The Muslim Food Station is called Halal, which translates to "permissible" according to Faleh Ibrahim, a graduate student majoring in computer engineering. According to Ibrahim, the dietary rules for Muslims are very easy. First, alcohol is prohibited and cannot used be used in the cooking of any dish. "Besides things that contain alcohol, every other thing is permissible except meat," Ibrahim said. He generalized the meat restrictions into three basic rules.First, the animal must be fed properly while it is alive, Ibrahim said. Secondly, at the time of slaughter, the animal must be killed humanely."It should be as easy as possible for the animal itself," Ibrahim said. The animal should be comfortable, and a sharp knife should be used. The animal should not see any other animals killed. Lastly, "the name of God must be remembered at the time of slaughtering," according to Ibrahim. A special prayer must be said. Some meat is prohibited no matter how the animal is killed; this includes pork as well as the meat from carnivorous animals. According to Ibrahim, dietary rules for Muslims are very similar to kosher rules for people of the Jewish faith. He said many Muslim students ate food prepared at the kosher section at Towers Dining Hall before Halal was started.Ali Langston, a 2nd-semester biomedical engineering major, and secretary of the UConn Muslim Students Association, said that before Halal opened, he often brought food prepared at his home to campus. He also ate fish served at the dining hall. "I think the food is really good," Langston said of the meals served at the Halal station. Dennis Pierce, director of Dining Services, said that the initiative to start Halal came in the form of an e-mail sent early this summer. An incoming freshman student who was Muslim asked for alternatives for meals. Dining Services began to look into purchasing Halal food.According to Regis Synnott, associate director of Dining Services, finding a distributor was somewhat difficult. Dole & Bailey, a Massachusetts based distributor, was chosen because they were able to quickly begin supplying meat, enabling UConn to start up Halal this semester. Dole & Bailey is a family-owned business that started in 1868, according to their web site. Next year, Halal meat may be ordered from HPC Foodservice, a business which currently provides UConn with fresh meat products and cheese, Synnott said. The business does not offer certified Halal meat at this time. According to Synnott, the prices for Halal meat are more expensive than for normal meat but "not hugely more expensive." On its second day of operation, Halal food was served to 70 students, according to Towers Dining Hall Employee Jacob Laprad, a senior at E.O. Smith High School who was working the dinner shift.
© Copyright 2006 The Daily Campus

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