A PETITION opposing Halal only meat menus has attracted around 300,000 signatures.
The strength of national opposition to the policy of offering only meat prepared using the Islamic tradition is growing as the issue with Harrow school dinners roll on.
Paramjit Singh Kohli, of Harrow Interfaith Council, helped organise the petition collected over the internet against the use of Halal only meat menus in organisations across the country, ranging from schools to hospitals and stadiums.
He said: “From Edinburgh down to South Bournemouth, from Wales to London, altogether we are getting over 300,000 people.
“Every day we are getting about 50,000 to 60,000 and this isn’t only the Sikh community.”
All secondary schools in Harrow opted for a contractor that does not provide non-Halal meat.
At the moment all schools in the borough are not serving meat, instead offering vegetarian and fish options.
Harrow Council, which last week wrote to schools asking them to consider a non-Halal meat option, today warned the controversy must not be allowed to threaten community relations.
Councillor Brian Gate, responsible for schools and colleges, in a letter to the Harrow Times praised Harrow’s diverse communities for getting on well together.
He said: “Many of the groups that have contacted us or your paper have expressed their fears that the issue of Halal meat can threaten these community relations.
“We must not allow that to happen. And we must ensure that the top priority in school canteens across Harrow is that all children, of all faiths and beliefs, have access to healthy and nutritious meals.”
Councillor Navin Shah, London Assembley Member for Brent and Harrow, said: “Every school should provide a choice of meals reflecting diversity and faith and religious beliefs and practices.
“Therefore whether it is Halal meat or non-Halal or Kosha or Hindu vegetarian this choice should be made available to the pupils.”
The petition will be presented to Number 10 Downing Street.