A culinary school in Denmark is forcing its Muslim students to taste pork and wine, both banned in Islam, or else they will not be able to graduate from the school.

İkram Korkmaz, the son of Turkish immigrants in Denmark, recently enrolled in the Copenhagen Hospitality College in Valby to fulfill his childhood dream of being a cook. Shortly after he began school, Korkmaz was asked to cook meals that include pork. Being very familiar with Danish culture, Korkmaz successfully cooked these meals, but this did not satisfy the college administration, which asked him to taste pork. When Korkmaz refused to taste pork on religious grounds, his instructors told him that he cannot graduate from the school unless he tastes pork and wine.

“I was very disturbed when my instructor asked me to taste pork and wine. When I visited the vice principal of the school to complain about the issue,

he told me the same thing. As a last resort, I went to the school’s principal, but he also told me that all the students in the school have to taste the food they cook”.


The Turkish man, who graduated from an imam-hatip high school in Turkey, also said the college administration had brought an imam to the school who told the Muslims that there is nothing wrong from the Islamic point of view in their tasting pork.

Korkmaz said when he tried to explain that Muslims are banned from eating pork, the school administrator reminded him of the statement of the imam who said Muslims can taste pork. “Perhaps some Muslim students believed what that imam said and tasted pork, but I will never do so,” he said.

Korkmaz also said the school discriminates against Muslim students, asking them to become workers instead of cooks. He said two Iraqi Muslim students had to quit school due to pressure from the school administration. According to Soren Kühlwein Kristiansen, the school principal, there is nothing wrong in Muslims’ eating pork. Speaking to Danish state TV DR, he said if the students in the college want to graduate from the school, they have to taste all the food they are asked to cook.

Kristiansen also said students who do not taste pork will not get an internship, making it impossible for them to graduate.

Nevertheless, there are many restaurants run by Muslims in Denmark, where more than 300,000 Muslims live. Korkmaz said he was accepted by the first restaurant he applied to as an intern.

Thanks to support from his wife, Britt Maria Christensen, Korkmaz filed a complaint against the Copenhagen Hospitality College with the Danish Ministry of Education. The ministry is to respond to Korkmaz’s complaint within 14 days.


From an article that first appeared in Todays Zaman

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