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Half of colleges fail to provide halal food, says ISoc

Nearly half of undergraduate colleges fail to offer halal food in hall for Muslim students, according to new data released by the University’s Islamic Society (ISoc).

14 of Oxford’s 30 undergraduate colleges (46.7%) – including Balliol, Hertford, and Merton – do not have any provision for halal food, the society claims.

A further three colleges – Magdalen, St John’s, and Univ – only offer halal food at formal hall.

The Islamic Society’s vice president Supti Akhtar told Cherwell: “Eating together with fellow students in Hall is a big part of the Oxford experience, and it’s a shame if anyone feels excluded from that.

“So providing halal food is a simple – but important – way of creating an inclusive environment for Muslim students…it is perfectly feasible for any college to cater for halal.”

Akhtar said that the Society is trying to work with bursars and catering staff to provide clarity as to what food is actually halal.

“Sometimes colleges just don’t declare it,” she told Cherwell.

“We have also found problems around certain colleges not knowing that alcohol is forbidden, and thus students are often not told when alcohol is used within desserts or main meals.

“We hope to resolve these issues in an attempt to make college life that much more inclusive for all our members.”

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