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Camden New Journal - by CHARLOTTE CHAMBERS
Published: 22 February 2007
Protest fails to keep halal meat off menu

Parents told school will introduce service next week

HALAL meat goes on the menu next week at the Kilburn school where some parents protested at its introduction.
An unsigned newsletter sent on Friday to parents of pupils at Kingsgate School said: “Following parent consultation the governors have decided to provide a halal service at lunchtimes. This service will start on Tuesday, February 27.”
Halal meat is produced by cutting the throat of an animal and leaving the blood to drain – as is kosher meat – as opposed to methods which involve stunning first.
The controversial decision by governors at the Kingsgate Road school to introduce halal meat prompted parents to protest outside the gates two weeks ago.
Protester Jacqueline Gomm said: “People say our culture’s not being compromised but it is.”
Gerard Batten, the UK Independence Party’s Euro-MP, has backed Ms Gomm’s campaign, and plans to write to Education Secretary Alan Johnson. “It’s a way of imposing Islamic practices on non-Muslim children, which I find unacceptable,” he said.
A survey of primary schools in the borough has revealed that four out of 42 schools already serve halal meat, although half of those polled are church schools.
Argyle School in King’s Cross, where at least two-thirds of pupils are Muslim, was the first in Camden to serve halal meat.
Deputy head Helen Adams said: “It’s a very difficult issue – lots of people have very strong views. We consulted widely and we understand the views held by some, but as far as I know none of our parents expressed objection.
“I would listen to their views and advise them to take it up with the governors.”
In Somers Town, Edith Neville School, where three-quarters of pupils are Muslim, has served halal meat for seven years.
Headteacher Sean O’Regan said: “My issues with the kitchen at my school are how the food is cooked, not how it met its demise.”
He pointed out that a mixed kitchen – using halal and non-halal meat – is unacceptable to the Islamic faith, which is why a compromise is impossible.
Holy Trinity Church of England School, in Finchley Road, is understood to be discussing the issue, although a decision has yet to be made.
Beckford School in West Hampstead, which began serving halal meat about four years ago, has a 75 per cent Muslim intake, while Rhyl School in Kentish Town also serves halal meat.
A number of schools were not available for comment at the time of going to press.




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