Originally published December 3, 2010
For Muslim students on campus, life just got a little easier.
Halal food is now being served at Center Court for students who wish to follow a traditional Islamic diet.
“I feel very fortunate to be at a place like Bradley which considers its multicultural students in such ways and tries its best to make us college students feel at home while away from home,” said senior cell molecular biology and chemistry major Rawan Musaitif.
Halal is food that is permissible or allowed under Islamic laws.
To be considered halal, all meats must be properly sacrificed by a Muslim in the name of Allah. Muslims can eat most meats if they are properly sacrificed.
Bradley is the first university in the state to offer halal food on campus, allowing 35 to 40 Muslim students to incorporate more variety into their everyday diets.
“Coming from Chicago there is easy access to food that is halal, there are a lot of stores and restaurants we can go to,” President of the Muslim Student Association Bilaluddin Mohammed said. “Peoria only has one halal restaurant. Since 2008, I’ve been eating Subway tuna sandwiches and anything veggie.”
Several halal cut meats are available at Center Court including beef pepperoni for pizza, smoked turkey and regular turkey.
Mohammed said they are hoping to add more options such as hotdogs and chicken to the service.
Director of Dining Services Ron Gibson said expanding this service is in the works for next semester.
“We will get into preparing hot foods and also offer items that students can purchase and take home to prepare themselves,” he said. “By next semester we will also make halal food available at the Mill Street deli inside of Cafe Bradley.”
Mohammed said Center Court began serving halal food the week before Thanksgiving and has received a positive response.
“Everyone loves it – even the community wants me to set up a gathering for them to eat at Bradley,” he said. “This opens the door for a lot of universities everywhere and it has made a name for Bradley. Every Muslim family in Illinois knows about Bradley and our new halal food.”
Musaitif said he thinks halal food is a good addition to campus.
“With the new halal service that Bradley provides, we Bradley Muslim students can now enjoy adding a meat option to our meals versus being restricted to grains and vegetables,” he said.
Although mostly unique meats, such as dog, donkey and lion are considered haram, or not permissible under Islamic laws, pork is also haram. Eating anything in relation to pork or anything that touches pork is not permissible.
Gibson said Mohammed met with him last year and expressed his concerns about the lack of accommodations on campus for an Islamic diet.
“I was actually working with the Jewish student association on the kosher program and told one of the advisors that if any of the other student organizations would like special offerings due to their religious backgrounds to get in touch with me directly,” he said.
Mohammed said because Bradley is the first university in the state to offer a halal service, it has received statewide recognition and acknowledgment.
He said he has received phone calls from other universities, not only in the state but in the country asking for advice to start their own halal program.
“UIC in Chicago has 300 to 400 Muslim students and they don’t even have halal food,” Mohammed said. “UIC called me and asked me to visit and give them a presentation about how to get it started there.”
Mohammed said he thinks having halal food available to students on campus will expose Bradley to new recruitment opportunities.
“If [future students] look at this they will see Bradley is an open hearted school and enlightens diversity,” he said. “People from Muslim communities will see this because of the halal food service.”