So here's a question. At my university, in the student cafeteria (the one that you have to go to if you live on residence) there is a halal grill. For those who don't know what that is (I didn't until about an hour ago) it's where they serve food that is acceptable to the Muslim code of conduct. They don't have a big muslim population (with the exception of the cooks) at the school and my question is, should I be offended by this? Is having something religious like this appropriate? They don't have a kosher grill, or anything for any other religions even. I'm not even sure how I feel about it, I just know I don't like it.
Does anyone think I should make a fuss about it or should I just ignore it?

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Because one is allowed to eat non Halal if the option for Halal doesn't exist, I feel there should be no problem if the option of Halal is not provided.

I suspect some muslims would not agree with you. For someone to have "no other choice" I would suggest that means different things for different islamic sects. Some might take it to mean that if they enter a cafeteria and there is no halal option then normal food is fine. Others might take it to mean that they can eat non-halal food if and only if they are starving to death in the desert or some other remote location.

That is true. There are many things that a Muslim might not agree with me on seeing as how I dislike their religion. 

It's easy to interpret something how you want. I don't want to support the Muslim traditions and I could argue that I'm being just as inconvenienced by having it

Thanks everyone for your comments. My big problem with it was that it is set up for muslims. There is other food there that could be acceptable to them but they have a section devoted specifically to their religious views. This isn't like a random restaurant that you can choose not to go to. As long as you're living on residence, you must have a meal plan, and this cafeteria is the only place to use the meal plan.It's not like the entire caf is set up like this though, just the one section. To me, it mostly just seems like an odd thing to have. After all, this is Canada, not Saudi Arabia

My thoughts are that most likely you should just ignore it.  The fact of the matter is that you depend for your survival on the participation of religious people in society.  As long as they aren't being oppresive, since their contributions are vital to the upkeep of society, it is essential to provide some concessions to them so that they do not experience high levels of discontent regarding their value in society.  That is a utilitarian argument, but the other is, that the oppression of religion creates an experiential reality of oppression for those who have religious beliefs.  I don't know what goes into halal food, but I suspect that it is offered due to the ease of the cooks to provide it.  If they are trying to afford a special status to those that eat it, then that might be wrong, but it is a dietary restriction, so having that option there does help. 

That said, it all depends on the amount of shared resources being used in order to run the grill.  You should not ignore it if there is not enough demand to warrant the upkeep, and the upkeep is too high, then it is reasonable to oppose taking such drastic measures with shared resources to accommodate such a small portion of the population.   So what are your thoughts on the amount of resources being used for this?  It all hangs on that.

Well I wouldn't say that I depend on the religious for my survival by any means, but that's a different argument for a different day. I think they just serve it, I gaurantee that a large portion of people that eat there have no idea (or don't care) what halal food is.

The demand for food is there. The demand for it to be halal? Not so much. I think I'll probably send a respectful email to someone in charge asking about the logic for it. Mostly just out of curiosity. The amount of resources being used for it I'm unsure of although I'm sure its much more expensive to supply food that's halal and considering how chincy they are with food anyway makes it seems like an added expense they don't need

Religious people provide the largest portion of the resources, including manpower that keeps society in a functioning state.  If every religious person disappeared, it would be chaos.  Eventually we would regroup, but we are dependent on them for the upkeep of present society.  Essentially all this means though is that we each make concessions so that we can work together.  They also ought to be making concessions and not holding onto privilege.

My thought on it is ... do you really care? I mean really, do you care about this grill?  I could think of any number of things in relation to faith that would deserve attention for being out of line but this is not one of them. My advice to you is to not look for things to be offended by and save it for when you really do need to fight religious intolerance etc.

I realize it's a little petty, but the small things add up. I'm not looking for any sort of fight, I had no idea what halal was even until I saw it mentioned somewhere and then looked it up. Please note, this isn't a food allergy, it's more of a preference. Making a spot for celiacs make sense, for muslims, not so much

I think that the problem is being blunt, that you are out of touch with the reality that religious people experience.  Eating non-halal food is an act of immorality and evil according to their perception of reality.  As the psychologist Albert Ellis said when alluding to the great stoic philosophers, ones perceptions determines the corresponding reality experienced. 

The celiac can also chose to eat food in the cafeteria with gluten in it.  However the celiac avoids it based on the consequences of the act.  The individual with religious dietary restrictions also avoids eating it among many things, due to the consequences of the act.  But many people avoid it not because of consequences, but because of social forces at work.  Once something is declared wrong, it is shameful.  The Muslim cannot participate in that which is shameful because of a natural aversion to socially unacceptable behavior.  Because the Muslim is absorbed into Muslim culture, the power of this shame does keep one from performing many actions that would otherwise seem normative. 

I would contend that for either the Muslim or the celiac, eating food with which a dietary restriction exists does not appear optional, but everything is always optional even if it kills a person.

You do realize one can kill a person the other would only make them suffer at the hands of their own insanity. Not even close to a good comparison.


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