SINGAPORE, Feb 5, 2008 (AFP) - A primary school in multicultural Singapore has reversed a policy that allowed only halal food appropriate for Muslims in its canteen, the school principal said Tuesday.
"The school will reverse the policy effective today, and I will be sending out a letter to parents to tell them of the changes," Wan Imran Woojdy told AFP.
He said the school, Boon Lay Garden Primary, "will ensure that the canteen will arrange to provide both halal and non-halal food items for the pupils and that the provision of halal food items for Muslim pupils will not be compromised".
The school had forbidden non-halal food in its canteen since 2002, when all eight stalls selling food there were certified halal by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, reported The Straits Times newspaper.
It said Imran had sent a letter to parents last Friday to remind them that the canteen was halal. Pork, which is enjoyed by Singapore's majority Chinese population, is not halal.
"We have advised children not to consume non-halal items in our canteen in compliance with the canteen's halal certification," the newspaper quoted an extract of Imran's letter as saying.
"We decided to make the whole canteen halal to provide a common eating space for all our children, whatever their race," Imran told the newspaper.
The school security guard and discipline master had been checking lunch boxes since last week to ensure pupils complied, the report said.
The halal-only policy was reversed after four parents complained about the ruling, Imran was quoted as saying.
About 14 percent of Singapore residents are Malays, most of them Muslim. Another nine percent are ethnic Indian.