Canada: N.S. woman claims potential wedding venue violated her religious freedoms

CTV Atlantic
Published Monday, February 12, 2018 8:50PM AST
Last Updated Monday, February 12, 2018 9:47PM AST

A Dartmouth woman claims a local hotel is infringing on her freedom of religion by not offering appropriate food for her wedding reception.

Susan Ashley says the Delta Hotel in Dartmouth has denied her request to have halal food at the venue, something she says is needed for a traditional Muslim meal.

“It wouldn’t have been a big issue, and I honestly feel that it infringes on my human rights,” said Ashely. “I can’t say enough how upset I am.”

In a statement to CTV News, the Delta Hotel said they can offer some halal food, although it might not be up to orthodox standards and they wouldn’t allow outside caterers into the venue. The Delta said bringing an outside caterer into their kitchen would mean they would have to suspend food preparation for the rest of the guests.

The Delta also said they try to work with their customers, but this particular case wouldn’t be possible.

“Our catering menu does include many halal selections, however, we cannot provide assurances of no cross-contamination for clients who seek a true orthodox meal,” said an official for Armour Group Ltd., which represents the Delta Hotel.

Halal means “permissible,” and for Muslims it encompasses foods that are prepared a certain way. For meats, it refers to the way the animal is slaughtered.

“It’s supposed to be a very quick, painless death. The knife is supposed to be very, very sharp, one swift go,” said Halal retailer Jibran Khan.

Halal food is becoming more accessible in the Halifax area. Khan says it’s an important signal to Muslims that times are changing.

“I grew up here, 26 years in Canada not being able to go to restaurants, having to watch what I eat at friend’s places, so it just becomes a little restrictive in a lot of ways.,” said Khan.

Ashley is now looking at other venues, but she says there’s a price difference.

“Downtown Halifax is very expensive and I don’t want to spend $50,000 on a wedding,” she said. “I believe the Delta declined allowing me to have a caterer because they would essentially lose profit.”

But Armour Group Ltd. said the Delta can’t guarantee there wouldn’t be any cross-contamination during preparation.

The client seemed committed to having an outside caterer from the outset of her request, which appeared to be driven solely by economics,” the spokesperson said.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.

Categories: Americas, Canada

8 replies

  1. The hotel should not be blamed. They stated what they can do and what they cannot do. It is up to the guests to find a place that suits them. (or cook themselves?)

  2. Dear Rafiq— do not delate my contradic respond, we need to educate young Muslim with different interpretation, only God can judge whose interpretation is right.

    Meat pork and alcohol are not unclean stuffs as the extremist Arab told Muslim. The extremist wahhabi clerics have deceived Muslim because they hate Jews and Christion since the time of our prophet.

    Meat pork and alcohol are consumed by million people around the world. They are fine. As long as do not consume a lof of it.

    The health experts say, meat of pork and alcohol recomend people NOT to consume a lot.

    We should believe in the health experts than Arab wahhabi clerics.

    All ❤️

    • ok. I do not delete it. So I have to tell you in clear words: If you are a Muslim you are talking bull-shit. It is absolutely clear that a Muslim should not eat pork (unless he is starving to death). And we do not like to drink wine because ‘the bad is more than the good’. Now stop repeating yourself, because otherwise I need to delete your comment.

      • Dear Rafiq— you wrote: Muslim should not eat pork (unless he is starving to death).==

        Unless he is starving to death. It means the meat of pork is not poison— not najis—unclean—eatable— right?
        Do you agree? Rafiq

        The word of starving to death is it can be interpreted “ can consume a little of bit as long as do not harm people’s health.

        The health experts has proven that people can eat meat pork a little bit and can drink alcohol a little bit as long as do not consume a lot,

        Do not you agree Rafiq that the health experts should decide what foods is good and bad to citizen than Islamic clerics who do not have the knowledge of health.

        You should agree with me that you are Swizerland who have broad knowledge than Arab clerics.

        Please clarify Rafiq

      • Can we stop this conversation about pork now please? You may eat whatever you like. I on my side still feel uncomfortable because during a lunch break at a meeting in the Vatican I by mistake did not ask what meat the spaghetti sauce had. And I still feel uncomfortable. I had a nice trip to the Vatican, a good meeting, all went very well, except for that lunch which spoiled my impression of the day. For you your interpretation and for me mine please.

  3. Dear Rafiq— dont feel uncomfotable and sinfull, it is fine.
    Thank you for your time and discussion—I do not intend to impose my interpretation to anyone— as long as we can open mind to hear each other and respect the differences— it is cool. Let God judge our belief. Right Rafiq?

    May God bless you
    All ❤️

    • I do not feel ‘sinful’, just uncomfortable. There is no sin (I think) as I had no intention of eating pork (still not 100% sure if it was …)

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