- Associated Press - Monday, October 20, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Some Muslim students at the University of Minnesota have found they must use extreme caution to ensure the food options at campus eateries don’t conflict with their religious beliefs.

University Dining Services is now considering whether to expand food options, including kosher options, and begin catering to students who follow a halal diet, Minnesota Public Radio News (https://bit.ly/1nwZ4SJ ) reported. Some students who are Muslim and choose to follow a halal diet have reported concerns over food items being tainted by utensils that have touched pork products.

Many shy away from certain items, according to sophomore Salahaldin Deba.

“The biggest thing I hear is people want hamburgers,” he said. “But they have to settle for a veggie burger instead of a beef one.”

Some Muslims follow a halal diet more strictly than others, said Cawo Abdi, an assistant professor of sociology. Some abide by the same standards as Jewish dietary law and eat kosher foods. The halal diet mainly regulates the consumption of meat and animal byproducts, including the way animals were treated when they were processed. It forbids pork and alcoholic beverages.

“It can be very distressing to suspect that the food you’re eating is not meeting the requirements,” Abdi said.

Imane Daoud, a first-year neuroscience and psychology student, said he has decided to stop ordering any kind of meat from campus eateries. The lack of halal-friendly food can cause Muslim students to adhere less staunchly to their religious beliefs, she said.

“It causes a lot of people to have to kind of bend the rules and have to step out of it,” Daoud said, “because they can’t get access and they don’t have a lot of options.”


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org

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