School over halal Christmas meal

Posted On November 19, 2006

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A British school proposing to offer pupils halal chicken for their Christmas lunch has been forced to provide a non-halal turkey alternative after a backlash from some parents, the Daily Telegraph reported yesterday.

Oakwood School in Rotherham, northern England, put the option on the menu to allow Muslim children to celebrate alongside other pupils. But headmistress Jan Charters said concerns from a handful of parents had prompted her to offer a non-halal version as well, the paper reported.

“This was an attempt to extend the spirit of inclusion which would allow Muslim children to sit down and enjoy a meal together,” she told the Daily. “It is very frustrating that people find motives which are not present.” Pupils across Britain are offered a Christmas meal in the run-up to the festive season in December.

Around one in five students at Oakwood are of Asian origin. The Telegraph quoted one parent, saying: “Why can’t we have a choice of chicken which suits everyone, both Muslims and non-Muslims? “We bend over backwards at Eid to eat traditional Muslim food, so why should we have to change our Christmas tradition?”

Consumption of blood is forbidden under Islamic law, halal meat comes from animals whose blood has drained away from the carcass.