UPDATE, MAY 16, 8:10 A.M.: The Los Angeles of Anaheim chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) partnered with Muslim residents in San Juan Capistrano to offer councilwoman Pam Patterson a gift card to NYC Cafe, the local eatery she refused to place an order from for a city meeting in March cause halal! Sophia Habbas spoke during last night’s city council meeting in making the announcement.
“The councilwoman’s comments help continue a false narrative about the Islamic faith,” she said. “In the spirit of mercy and forgiveness, two of the three stages of Ramadan, which begins tonight at sunset, members of the community and CAIR-LA purchased a $45 gift card for councilwoman Patterson and her family to eat at a local restaurant that offers [a] halal menu.” Council chambers greeted the offer with kindhearted laughter and applause.
Councilwoman Patterson’s response? She didn’t attend last night’s meeting. Patterson’s in the nation’s capital as one of the anti-sanctuary state politicians invited to meet with President Trump at the White House to discuss immigration. But being under $50, the NYC Cafe gift card is perfectly acceptable to be received by the elected official when she gets back. May we suggest, again, the ghormeh sabzi pizza? We also hear that the chicken gyro is delicious, too!
Here’s the council comment in all its glory!
Thank you to Sophia Jamil Habbas, who stood in front of her city council and expressed her disappointment in Councilwoman Pam Patterson's negative remarks about halal food.CAIR – Greater Los Angeles Chapter was pleased to partner with community members to leave a $45 gift card for the councilwoman and her family to dine at a restaurant in San Juan Capistrano that offers a halal menu.
Posted by CAIR – Greater Los Angeles Chapter on Tuesday, May 15, 2018
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 10, 7:00 A.M.: Dietary restrictions these days are as abundant as gluten-free everything at the grocery store. Some folks avoid certain foods out of health conditions; others gobble up plant-based diets with politics in mind. But for San Juan Capistrano councilwoman Pam Patterson, she’s religiously averse to halal food–meats and other fare deemed “permissible” in accordance to Islamic preparation.
During city council closed sessions, staff routinely places orders from nearby catering restaurants. For February meetings, Patterson went for a burrata salad with arugula from Ciao Pasta and a small gourmet veggie pizza from Tannins Restaurant on another date. Five days before the Mar. 20 city council meeting, Lindsey Stigall, a senior executive assistant from the city manger’s office, asked the mayor and council to pick their plates from NYC Cafe in San Juan Capistrano.
Years ago, the Weekly recommended readers try the ghormeh sabzi pizza, especially for its namesake Iranian herb stew topping. But Patterson had reservations about the caterers. “Please check, because they are or were Middle Eastern: the type of meat they use–is it compliant with Shariah Law,” she wrote in an email obtained by the Weekly. “There is a website that shows that–the way the meat is butchered.”
Never mind that Al Shan has owned NYC Cafe since 2005 and is Iranian–not Middle Eastern (neither signifies Muslim by default, Pammy!), but his catering and restaurant business also offers an array of food. “They do have other options, such as pasta, salads, entrees,” Stigall soberly suggested to Patterson. Not only that, but had the councilwoman read the menu carefully, she would’ve seen pizzas with pork toppings and pints of beer (both haram under sharia). NYC Cafe also advertises its catering services for quinceañeras, weddings, and Bat Mitzvah celebrations.
None of that mattered. The city staffer checked in with NYC Cafe per Patterson’s request. “I found out that NYC does abide by the Shariah Law,” she wrote. “Please let me know what you wish to order.” Patterson decided on sidestepping NYC Cafe altogether. “Shariah Law is against my religious beliefs, so please order me: the chicken/papaya salad–two scoops, no mango, from Cedar Creek,” the councilwoman wrote. Stigall passed the message along to city manager Ben Siegel. “I confirmed with the restaurant they use meat butchered by ‘humane vendors’, however I am not verse[d] in the details of these methods,” she wrote.
The Weekly asked Patterson for comment to no avail. Maybe the councilwoman clings to Corinthians 8:4? No stranger to voicing her Christianity in the past, Patterson stirred controversy when giving an invocation at a Sept. 2015 council meeting. She took the opportunity to speak out against abortion and urged people to watch online videos by right-wing Messianic Jewish rabbi Jonathan Cahn.
With Ramadan due to begin next week, Orange County will undoubtedly host interfaith iftars as it has in the past where people from all different faith traditions–who have no Pammy-like problems–join Muslims for halal food feasts when breaking their religious fast at sundown.
Of course, Patterson also championed a myth-ridden resolution against SB 54 last month during OC’s anti-sanctuary state revolt. We all know ginning up falsehoods against undocumented immigrants is what Christ would do, right?
Gabriel San Roman is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and tallest Mexican in OC.