Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Muslim Student Chef Gets Concession To Not Taste Pork, Wine Dishes

I will be the first to condemn any Muslim unwilling to integrate or for attempting to impose their religious dictates on the rest of us. But every once in a while I come across a story that I can actually relate to, like the problems Ikram Korkmaz had at his culinary school in Valby, Denmark. Korkmaz is a Turkish Muslim who was told by the school administration that if he didn't taste any of the dishes that contained alcohol or pork he would not graduate. The college even brought in an imam to convince Korkmaz that it was okay, but he still refused. Schooled in Turkey, Korkmaz said,
“Perhaps some Muslim students believed what that imam said and tasted pork, but I will never do so,” he told Today’s Zaman.
After trying to reason with the various school officials, Korkmaz eventually complained to the Education Ministry and came out the winner.  According to Mette Klingsey Møller, spokesperson for the Ministry, the school has now made a concession for Korkmaz (and others who might have similar problems with certain foods) whereby other students can taste the dishes for them.

According to The Copenhagen Post, both the leftist Enhedslisten party and the right-wing Dansk Folkeparti actually agreed, for the first time, on the issue.

“It is a completely crazy case,” Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, the spokesperson of Enhedslisten, told public broadcaster back in February. “I expect that the Education Ministry will take action right away. I also do not think that you can tell a lactose-intolerant person that he or she cannot become a chef.”
“It seems odd not to want to taste the food that one is going to serve,” added Dansk Folkeparti deputy leader Peter Skaarup. “But it can never become a requirement, to make someone eat or taste something specific.”

And I do too. As a vegetarian, non-drinker, I would not want to be forced to taste meat or alcohol-doused dishes of any kind. You might then say, then don't go to culinary school. But if I chose to become a vegetarian chef, I would still need to learn the basics. And, those with dietary health restrictions, as Schmidt-Nielson said- are you going to tell them they can't become chefs? There have been many times I have turned down commercial auditions because I would have had to eat meat. Does that mean I shouldn't have become an actress?

I honestly don't think that the student chef was politicizing the issue, unlike the UK MPs who insisted they get halal meat on the menu at Westminster eateries, and am glad the college made this exception.

H/T Islam In Europe


SnoopyTheGoon said...

I can understand that problem of a Muslim cook. But vegetarians... no, no quarter from me ;-)

Incognito said...

Haha.... :-)