CAIRO – A growing number of Oklahoma Thunder basketball players have discovered an appetite for halal food, joining the team’s new Muslim member in his halal dinner of lamb and chicken kebabs.
“Pretty much as soon as he came in, I just told him that I’m eating his food, so I told the guys to order double,” Thunder center Steven Adams said referring to his new team mate Enes Kanter, Wall Street Journal reported.
Kanter, the team’s reserve center, is a Turkish-born devout Muslim and observes his religion’s dietary laws.
As he joined Thunder, executives took several measures to accommodate Kanter after signing him a long-term extension in the off-season.
The Thunder team ensured that Kanter’s first meal in his new job location, Oklahoma City, was made as per halal standards. Team chefs also prepared his meals with separate kitchenware.
His personal benefits are not restricted to food alone. He has a prayer room assigned exclusively to him in team arena.
He also has the right to use the personal office of Clay Bennett, the team owner at the practice center of the team. Towels are used as prayer rugs.
After Adams, several team members, like Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook also dug in, forcing the team officials to search the internet for high quality halal food.
“It’s like a mini-party,” said Thunder medical director Donnie Strack.
“Everyone wants to steal Enes’s food.”
Although there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.
The concept of halal, — meaning permissible in Arabic — has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
Halal food is consumed not only by 1.5 billion Muslims around the world, but also by at least 500 million non-Muslims.