Fish & Chips Sikh owner continue catering for Halal despite threatHALAL STATUS Fish & chips prepped & cooked separately • Pork served
People like this think they speak on behalf of others. They don’t. – Facebook supporter tell chippy owner Sim Singh
A fish and chip shop owner in Burnley has vowed to continue catering for Muslim customers who observe the Halal diet despite being threatened for doing so.
Barden Lane Fish Bar received an anonymous note through the post last Friday warning it would be boycotted for pandering to the Muslim community.
Owner Sim Singh said he was left “upset” by the note which read: “We will not use you as you pander to crule Aisian ways (Halhal). You are in Lancashire not Aisian country!! [sic]”
Having been affixed to one of his promotional fliers, the threat was in response to a section on the leaflet which advised that ‘cooking can be Halal. Please ask a member of staff’.
“I’m not one to post such things but it upset me to get this in the mail this morning. Someone has actually taken their time out to write this note, put it in an envelope and sent it out to us,” Sim announced on the takeaway’s Facebook page.
“All we’re trying to do is run a successful business which caters for everybody & things like this just makes you question everything. I know this won’t make any difference and to a lot it may just be a meaningless post but it hit me hard this morning whilst we were running around prepping the shop for a chippy Friday.”
Overwhelming support from Facebook well-wishers
But the post has invoked a huge level of support with almost 500 likes and over 400 comments many of which have been from Muslims expressing their appreciation.
One Facebook follower, Louise Flashheart, reassured the business: “People like this think they speak on behalf of others. They don’t. Most people weren’t even aware of the hatred in our country and are genuinely trying to get our heads around people like this. I’m sorry. They’re also wrong.”
In response to the outpouring, Sim posted: “It’s so refreshing to read everyones comments and the support you’ve shown. It was a petty thing for someone to do, but my faith in humanity is well and truly restored after reading through the comments! Thanks guys!!”
He told FtLion: “I’m just overwhelmed by the support that’s been given. Normally there’s a lot of hate speech on Facebook. But it was really good to see that it was the other way around with that post, with a lot of people supporting, especially the local English community. So a big shout out to them really.”
While Sim also owns another local chippy on Padiham Road called Ightenhill Fish Bar, which he opened when first moving to Burnley from his home town of Leeds, he has never experienced such an incident before.
With Barden Lane Fish Bar having only launched last Thursday, he revealed: “I’ve been here three years and this is the first time something like this has happened.”
‘Equality’ driving force behind catering for Muslim locals
As a Sikh, Sim told FtLion that “from day one we’ve been taught about equality and that equality is everything.”
He added: “If our business were to fail because we wrote that [we cater for Halal] on our leaflet, we would let it happen. We wouldn’t change it simply because it’s not going to please some people. We wouldn’t change our principles just for business’ sake.”
Unlike the ethnic demographic of Ightenhill, the surrounding area of Barden Lane has a significant Asian population with many Muslims, according to Sim.
Having started leafleteering last week, Sim has already noticed a rise in Asian customers which he estimates to be around 20-30%.
While Sim himself is of Indian heritage, he grew up in a multicultural part of Leeds and says: “I got a lot of friends who are Muslims. So I got a good idea of what their diet involves.”
Catering for Halal, Sim has told FtLion that not only does the Fish Bar use a separate pan and oil for frying, but everything is kept apart with separate utensils dedicated for use in each section.
“The [non-Halal] sausages are fried in a completely separate oil and the utensils are also separate too,” he assured.
But has Sim been put off by this unpleasant incident? “Absolutely not!” he says, revealing that he has already sourced a Halal supplier for both his doner and chicken tikka.
Not only will he be introducing one or both to his overall menu in a fortnight’s time, but he is also looking to introduce gluten-free options too in response to inquiries from customers.
Barden Lane Fish Bar
267 Barden Lane, Burnley BB10 1JA.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00-20:00 | Sat-Sun 12:00-20:00