Halal Inn — Britain’s first Islamic pub. Huh?

Britain’s first Islamic pub “Halal Inn” recently opened its doors in Oldham. It’s being marketed as a “pub” that offers everything any pub would, except alcohol. So…urrr…it’s a cafe, no? A cafe where you can play pool, listen to Islamic music, eat Asian food. So it’s a cafe targeted to the Muslim population in Oldham.

Fine. It’s great to have hangouts that adhere to certain cultural/religious rules, it offers diversity — I’m happy that people are building places catering to specific lifestyles.

Non-Muslims may not understand how significant this place may be for Muslims, but why can’t they market it like that then? I mean: it’s not a pub (so don’t call it one); it’s not for non-Muslim people — if it was an open establishment welcoming everyone who wants to go out and not drink, they would not call it “Halal Inn”; the article says that although everyone is welcome, the crowd is predominantly male.

So to rephrase: Britain has opened its first Islamic cafe for Muslim men. Good for them. But why is this place being glorified to deceive? It’s not a novel concept, in fact, it’s not even a clear concept.

Instead of trying to modernize and open a clearly Islamic idea by tagging it an “pub”, they would have been better off (and more successful) if they made it into a full-fledged cultural cafe, perhaps more “Arab” style than Muslim. Sheesha, Arabic music, ethnic decor, typical Islamic food, Arabic tea from a big mud pot, etc; then it would have a concept, serve the Muslim population, and be of cultural interest to a much wider audience.