Integration Via the Stomach

By Ann McArthur–

In Nanterre, France you can go to the grocery store, walk past the isles of foie gras and snails and find fresh meats, kebobs, cous cous and spices, and are all halal- or permitted under Islam.

Not only are the six million Muslims that live in France having an impact on the food culture, but the expansion of halal food products are a sign of Muslim integration into French society.

The new halal markets are nearly twice the size of organic food stores in France, which tells you they are meeting the needs of an increasing population of second and third generation Muslims that now call France home.

Many consider the availability of halal foods to be a sign of acceptance and tolerance; however proponents fear that this will create Muslim radicalism among young people.

 The fact that these products are meeting the needs of the Muslim people and allowing them to continue in the realm of their own religion and culture without having to buy foods in a parking lot speaks to the size of the Muslim population in France and the countries willingness to allow their integration. Even when one is traveling in another country a small reminder of home, like a good burger is always heart-warming, but to live somewhere and not be able to get those comforts on a daily basis goes beyond a food preference, but rather allows people to live in a way that keeps them in tune with their culture and beliefs-something everyone deserves.

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