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FatimaAsSideqah
04-13-2008, 09:30 PM
As Salaam Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu


The bar serves fruit juices, tea and coffee but no booze. Music is playing in the background, with lyrics and melodies featuring a distinct Islamic flavor. It’s the Halal Inn in the Manchester city of Oldham.

"Muslims are a major consumer group and they need somewhere to relax and socialize just like anybody else," Muzahid Khan, the co-owner, told the Mail on Sunday on April 13.

"But the presence of alcohol means traditional pubs are off-putting to those who want to follow strict Islamic rulings, so this is the perfect place for them to come."


Khan and his business partner Azizur Rahman opened last December what is thought to be Britain's first alcohol-free pub.

The Halal Inn offers fruit juice, soft drinks or a cup of tea or coffee but no beer or wine.

Customers can play snooker and darts. Boards for Karam, a billiards-style game popular across Asia, are also available.

The cuisine features traditional Asian and Middle Eastern dishes like poppadoms, chicken pakora and sheek kebabs.

Islamic-themed melodies are played in the background.

For Muslims who want to perform their prayers, there is a room specially for that purpose.

The place, which operates from 4.30pm to 11.30pm seven days a week, organizes Islamic quiz nights for the visitors.

Britain is home to a sizable, multi-ethnic Muslim minority of 2 million, mainly from Pakistani, Bengali and Indian backgrounds.

Brilliant

Shahid, a Halal Inn regular, says the place offers him a resort after a tiring day at work.

"We come here to relax, have a game of snooker and generally just meet up with mates after a day at work," he told the Mail.

"I think the main point of going to a pub for English lads is the drink, but here the aim is just to see your friends and relax a little bit."

Mohammed Ali, 27, also enjoys a quiet game in the place after work.

"It's a bit different from a pub because you don't get drunks and so you don't get too much agro," he notes.

"I think it's a brilliant idea."

Ali maintains that the Halal Inn is even more agreeable because it's not exclusive for Muslims.

"There is usually a decent mix of people - not all of them Muslims. It's a very sociable place."

The owners believe there is prospect for more Muslim-friendly inns.

"More and more pubs are closing down across the country," Khan says.

"We believe turning them into Islamic pubs could be a success anywhere that has a large Muslim community."

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