Dining Services decided to sell Halal meat at both Dave’s Boathouse and the C-Store at the start of Spring 2020.
The president of the Muslim Student Union (MSU) expressed gratitude for the new provision of Halal meat on campus.
“We are very appreciative of what has been done, but an expansion of Halal options would be great,” said Sarah Ismail (‘20), president of MSU.
The club consists of roughly 35 active members. Ismail said the aim of the organization is to create a space for Muslims and non-Muslims on campus to come together, learn about Islam, and discuss current stigmas that exist surrounding Islamic culture.
Halal is an Arabic word meaning “permissible.” In the context of food, it is a dietary standard as described in the Qur’an.
“Eating Halal meat means that the animal is raised mercifully and treated in a humane way. They are slaughtered in a very specific way that is dedicated to the name of God,” said Ismail.
Halal products sold on campus are 10 percent more expensive than regular meals. Rollins acquires Halal products from Midamar Corporation, which is a global supplier of Halal foods.
“This is a very credible supplier; it meets all the necessary requirements to be considered a reputable and trustworthy organization,” said Cristina Caballina, director of Dining Services.
Many students requested Halal meat when purchasing from Dave’s Boathouse and the C-Store, Cabanilla said.
“Based on this and the purpose of following the College’s principles of diversity and inclusion, we incorporated Halal meals this semester at two of our dining locations,” Cabanilla said.
Omar Sadek (‘23) is a Muslim student who obtains most of his food at Rollins at either the Dining Hall or Bush Cafe. However, he plans to acquire more meals from Dave’s Boathouse now that Halal meat has become an option.
Sadek said that acquiring quality Halal meat is difficult in the Orlando area.
“There are a few big markets that sell Halal meat. My family has struggled to find Halal meat that is of good quality. We haven’t found a good source in
Orlando,” Sadek said. He spoke of how his family often has to settle for fish or vegetables when Halal meat is unobtainable.
In addition to Halal food, Ismail appreciated the other steps Rollins has taken to be more inclusive, such as continuing to offer the Interfaith Room. It is a space that is intended to include all religions, and Muslim students use it for their daily prayer and Friday night prayer services.
However, Ismail suggested that a Wudu station should also be made available in this space. Wudu refers to ritual cleansing before prayer.
“Rollins embraces diversity of faith,” Sadek said, explaining that this recent initiative is a step in the right direction to accommodate the Muslim community on campus.