Muslims now eat Halal at Hofstra!!
By Maryam Qureshi '18
Eating meat on campus was not an option for me until Monday, October 23, 2017, not because I chose to, but because I am a Muslim and adhere to the halal dietary lifestyle. I had few dining options to choose from and would struggle to finish up my meal points by the end of the semester. As an involved commuter, I oftentimes found myself having to drive back home in the middle of the day to eat a meal with protein (or carry a cold turkey sandwich in my bag) to fuel me for the rest of my busy day.
When I became president of Hofstra Muslim Student Association (MSA), I began to hear similar complaints. In fact, some students even felt less inclined to dorm here because of the unavailability of halal dining options. I was especially devastated to hear when my friend, Zain, told me that he hadn’t eaten meat in weeks – he didn’t have a car and home was Texas for him, there was no going back and forth for him.
‘Halal’ in Arabic means “permissible,” according to Islamic law. For Muslims, meat is Halal when it is slaughtered and prepared in accordance to Islamic guidelines. Also, Muslims cannot consume foods with pork, blood, or alcohol. That’s why Muslims also take precaution to check that foods do not contain ingredients of animal origin.
Halal is a dietary restriction that Muslims have to follow, but anyone can eat Halal. By serving Halal chicken at the Asian food station and Hot Food Market, now Muslims can eat those entrees also that were otherwise not permissible for them. Knowing that this school now serves Halal gives me a sense of belonging to this campus. I don’t have to drive home now to eat lunch but I can stay on campus and eat in the main dining hall with my friends.
In order to preserve the integrity of Halal meat on campus, however, there are a few things that we would like Campus Dining to make sure of. Some of these things include, no cross contamination while cooking and serving, clearly labeling each Halal entrée at the serving stations, and making available the Halal certification for students to see.