Parents say no to halal school dinners

A primary school which opted to serve only halal meat at lunch time has been accused of concealing the decision to provide Islamic compliant food from parents.

The Oxford primary school introduced halal meat to the school dinner menu in September last year as part of their inclusion policy, but failed to inform parents of the move until December. Parents at the school are now petitioning for an end to halal only meals.

In a letter to parents at the end of term Sue Mortimer, headmistress of Rose Hill Primary, said halal meat had been chosen because it was not forbidden by any religion or culture. But parents who are angered by the decision to serve just meat killed in a particular way to make it permissible for Muslims, have started a petition calling for an end to halal only meals and the introduction of a choice of meat on the menu.

Maria O’Callaghan, a parent at the school told the Oxford Mail: “I don’t agree with the way the animals are killed for halal meat.” Other parents said children should be offered a choice.

For meat to be classified halal, a Muslim must have slaughtered the animal from which it came. A prayer, including the words “Allah is great”, is said during the slaughter and all the blood is drained from the animal.

Raghib Ali, one of the founders of the Oxford Islam and Muslim Awareness project said: “The meat looks the same and tastes the same. It is just a different way the animals are reared and killed. It’s not cruel, it is better for the animal”.

Dr Taj Hargey chairman of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford, said he believed the school was at fault for not telling parents about the change.

Other schools in the area have applied to serve halal meat but Rose Hill Primary was the first in Oxfordshire to introduce the halal only policy.

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