Muslim students in Brentwood district, New York, will be served halal-certified food in school cafeterias starting from next school year in September.
The Brentwood Union Free School District passed a resolution unanimously on July 20 to offer halal food in the district’s 19 kitchens, Newsday reported.
Trustee Hassan Ahmed, the first Muslim and Pakistani American official elected in Suffolk County, introduced the resolution to include halal dietary options.
Ahmed estimates more than 1,000 Muslim families are in the district, which has two mosques.
The Brentwood board’s decision to serve more inclusive food won praise from Muslims.
“Giving students proper nutrition, healthy foods, proteins … throughout the day is going to impact their further learning capability and make them a better student,” Dr. Sara Siddiqui, a pediatrician and board member of the United Muslim Council, said.
Dua Hanif, a 16-year-old rising senior at Brentwood High School, hopes the new resolution would mean more food options for Muslim students.
“It would just be weird seeing everyone else eating what they wanted, but then we would not have the same luxury,” she said.
Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible.”
As well as meat, the term also applies to other food products, cosmetics, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals.
Atlantic City school district began serving halal food at several elementary schools and the high school in March 2021.
The new menus with halal options came as the result of three-year effort spearheaded by Muslim board member Farook Hossain.