The rise of halal food in Australia is dishing out radical change in society. With the country’s Muslim population soaring by 40% in just five years to 476,291, food is now served at a dozen McDonald’s restaurants and three KFC outlets certified to sell it prepared in an acceptable way for Muslims. Even major sports stadiums, such as ANZ Stadium and the MCG, have multi-faith prayer rooms for devout Muslims. While the recognition of Sharia law is a concern for some Australians, the rise of halal food highlights the growing demand for cultural sensitivity and accommodation in Australian society.
Many McDonald’s restaurants have HALAL food and bacon is off the menu at some KFC outlets to accommodate the religious sensitivities of Australia’s growing Muslim population.
The Muslim population has soared by 40 percent to 476,291 in just five years – paving the way for a building program of schools, mosques, and prayer rooms in the suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne.
Even the country’s biggest sports stadiums, including ANZ Stadium and the MCG, have moved to offer multi-faith prayer rooms for devout Muslims.
Related: Australia To Offer ‘Halal’ Certified Food To Troops
Halal Demand in Australia: KFC and McDonald’s Respond
A KFC spokesman yesterday said three of its restaurants, including two at Bankstown and Punchbowl, are certified to sell halal food prepared in a way that is acceptable to Muslims.
“KFC is mindful of responding to customer demand and cultural sensitivities in a balanced way,” the spokesman said.
Eight McDonald’s restaurants in Sydney and four in Melbourne offer halal food but, unlike some KFC outlets, they have not taken bacon off the menu.
Media relations manager Skye Oxenham-Lupul said, “We respond to the strong demand from the local community by offering halal menu items in our restaurants. We have also implemented modified storage and food preparation procedures to maintain correct segregation while providing non-halal menu items in our halal-certified restaurants.”
Related: Discovering Halal Food in Australia
Figures from the 2011 census show a long-term decline in the number of Australians who identify as Christians – down from 89 percent in 1976 to 61 percent in 2011.
But it is the push for official recognition of Sharia law that worried many Australians who made submissions to the federal parliamentary inquiry into multiculturalism.
More than 200 submissions to the inquiry raised concerns about or discussed the question of Islam in Australia.
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