(NEW YORK, NY, 3/26/14) — The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today joined New York City Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr., of Brooklyn at a news conference on the steps of City Hall in support of his resolution (Resolution No. 54 for Halal Menu Lunch Option) urging a halal (Islamically permissible) option in the cafeteria menus of city public schools.
Resolution 54 states in part: “New York City's public schools should be required to offer lunch options that meet Islamic dietary laws, thereby ensuring that Muslim students are meeting religious standards and are not virtually excluded from the school lunch system.”
Council Member Espinal is calling on the New York City Department of Education to incorporate the halal lunch menu option for students who would otherwise skip meals due to religious dietary guidelines. Espinal's office estimates that 12 to 20 percent of the school system's students are Muslim. No date has been set for a hearing on the council resolution.
CAIR-NY Director of Operations Sadyia Khalique said:
“Growing up in New York City, I, along with many Muslim students, had to struggle during lunch with not having a proper halal meal for the day. The percentage of Muslim children in public schools is growing, and too many children are denied the nutritional benefits lunch would provide because of religious dietary restrictions. As a community, we have to make sure our children receive the best education in environments in which their religious beliefs and practices are respected. No child should leave a lunchroom or enter a classroom hungry.”
“WeÂ standÂ united with the honorable Council Member Espinal for introducing Resolution 54 to ensure a hot meal for the more than 120,000 Muslim students in the city public school system.Â It'sÂ good for the city becauseÂ it'sÂ good for our future generation,” said Jahangir Kabir, CAIR-NY board member andÂ assistant general secretaryÂ of the Bangladeshi American Advocacy Group.
Earlier this month, during its 2nd Muslim Day at the Capitol, CAIR-NY urged the passage of bill S6834 in the state Senate to amend the education law by requiring any city with a population of over one million residents to offer halal food options in public schools during lunch.
CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.
CAIR-NY is a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Director of Operations Sadyia Khalique,Â 212-870-2002, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper,Â 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org