We want food!: Foreign and non-Muslim students lack food source during fast
By Adnan Lodhi (Daily Times)
LAHORE: Several non-Muslim and foreign students residing in the city’s various institutions’ hostels are facing problems during Ramazan because the canteens of most teaching institutions are closed during the day.
Most students said that the hostel administrations should make alternative arrangements to provide food to non-Muslim students, as the closure of the canteens has greatly inconvenienced them.
University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lahore, King Edward Medical College, Fatima Jinnah Medical College and Punjab University are some of the city’s institutes that have foreign students enrolled at their campuses.
Anouj Kumar, a Buddhist student from Nepal who resides at the PU hostels, said that the hostel’s canteen was closed during Ramazan, adding that all private canteens were also closed in the varsity to respect the holy month.
Respect: Mitra, a Hindu student living at the Fatima Jinnah Medical College hostel, said that she didn’t mind that the canteens were closed during Ramazan, as it is a holy month in Islam. She added that foreign and non-Muslim students should also respect the month, as they are guests in a foreign country. She said that as the mess employees were also Muslims, the administration should try to provide some sort of fast food facility for the non-Muslims.
Modnath, a Buddhist student at the UET, said that there are numerous students from Africa and Nepal who study at various branches of the institution. He said that he enrolled in the UET last year, adding that he faced the same problem of poor access to food last year also. He said that the varsity should mention such issues in their prospectus. He said that all students, regardless of religion, were forced to respect Ramazan and did not eat or smoke in front of Muslims, adding that food should be made available at the hostels for non-fasting students.
Force: Another non-Muslim residing at the PU hotels said that most non-Muslim students have started eating at sehr. She added that food is only available at iftar after sehr. She said that this forces the non-Muslims to fast, as no food is available for them. She said that in western countries, universities provide non-Muslims with special foods during the holy month, but a shortage of food is faced here.
PU Hall Council Chairman Dr Saeed Ahmad Nagra said that there are about 100 foreign students at the varsity, adding that not all are non-Muslims. He said that it would be impractical for the university to open the mess for a few students. He added that the shops and the main university cafeteria are open during Ramazan and the students can avail of them if required.
UET spokesman Professor Shabiulhasan Bukhari said that there are only a few foreign and non-Muslim students, adding that they should make use of the various general stores on campus. He added that it would be impractical to open the mess just for a few students.