“Islam reinforced my idea of ​​eating healthily”

“Islam reinforced my idea of ​​eating healthily”

“Last week, I suggested a butternut curry as the dish of the day. I add red lentils, coconut milk and spinach. I usually add curry, turmeric, ginger, garlic and onions. And I choose seasonal vegetables. Right now it’s butternut, but that could change. Customers like it, and it really corresponds to what we are trying to offer: organic, seasonal, homemade products.

When we opened the Oummi canteen with my partner in 2018, we noticed that there were a lot of vegetarian restaurants, or which followed an ecological approach, but very little halal. We asked ourselves: “Why don’t we offer that?” » After all, many non-Muslims are in this ecological and ethical approach, but our religion, Islam, asks us too. For the past year, we have only been offering vegetarian menus, but at the beginning, we also had organic halal burgers.

Halal, ecological ethics and animal welfare

People often think that halal is only about how the animal is killed. But for me, the true meaning of halal is the ethics in the treatment of animals. This consists of respecting them because they are God’s creatures. I believe, for example, that we must ensure that they have a good life. So chickens raised in batteries, slaughtered on an assembly line, are not possible. Foie gras is the same: the goose was force-fed, it suffered, so it is not halal, in the sense that it is not ethical at all.

I believe that the Earth is a repository (amana in Arabic). That is, God gave us the Earth and we must return it to Him in good condition on the day of judgment. This is why we cannot cultivate it excessively, eat tomatoes in winter, use pesticides, do intensive breeding… It doesn’t make sense! We also need to take care of our bodies: for me, this is partly why alcohol is banned. When we understand that food prohibitions are aimed at our good, it is no longer experienced as a constraint or as a deprivation. Before my conversion, I was already sensitive to eating healthily, but Islam reinforced my approach.

Around food, meeting and sharing

It’s true that I’m part of a minority: many Muslims are still very fond of junk food! (She laughs). But like all of society, I believe that more and more are tending towards flexitarianism (limit meat consumption, Editor’s note). Many have better social status than their parents, have been brought into contact with other environments and have higher expectations than them, particularly in terms of food.

In any case, I don’t want people to come or not come to the canteen because I’m Muslim! Above all, I want people to feel good, to have a good time. Here, there are little grannies, residents of the neighborhood. Many tell me “Here, it’s like home.” One day, people who lived opposite each other met for the first time in the canteen! Before Christmas closing, a regular brought back his oud (plucked string musical instrument common in Arab countries, Editor’s note) and sang Idir… Food is sharing: around a table, we may not agree on everything, but we will all eat together, that’s what’s important. »

(1) Cantine Oummi, 14 avenue du Père Lachaise, 75020 Paris. Tel:

Similar Posts