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We are planning to become Japan’s first Muslim-friendly airport.

34 Comments

Akihisa Tabe, general manager of the retail management department at New Kansai International Airport Co. The airport will increase the number of prayer rooms, restaurants that serve halal meals and other services to accommodate Muslims. (Asahi Shimbun)

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In my opinion, it's a slippery slope to begin this kind of pandering. Look at the state of the UK these days.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

I don't see why any religion needs such facilities at an airport. I'm a practising Catholic but I don't think it is necessary to have a chapel at Narita or any other airport.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

How about just a human friendly airport, why should my potential space be reduced for fairytales?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good luck with that. Wasn't aware there was any great need for this in Japan. Are Muslims a significant portion of flyers? Do they focus on Kansai?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

but I don't think it is necessary to have a chapel at Narita or any other airport.

True! What about my religion? I don't see the need for fire, heat and pentagrams.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The airport will increase the number of prayer rooms, restaurants that serve halal meals and other services to accommodate Muslims.

Do they have THAT MANY Muslim passengers using the place to require more than one prayer room???

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Discrimmination, other religions also should get temples shrines churches etc, why just pander to these mulims, what about opening a tonkatsu restuarant next door to it.

I really dont get why this religion wants and gets special treatment, is it the fact that it has scared and intimidated people into catering to it?

Personally I would not build anything special for them until they learn to intergrate into the rest of the world properly.

This world is up side down and backasswards sometimes.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I think someone (Tabe) went on a summer holiday and found out that many major airports in the US (Chicago, Reagan Int'l, Dulles etc) have inter-faith chapels that can be used by Christians, Moslems, and other religious types.

There are a few chapels in airports in Japan (Okinawa, for example) but they are used less for religious purposes and more for wedding ceremonies. Any of these can be used by any religious person, if they want to.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Probie

Do they have THAT MANY Muslim passengers using the place to require more than one prayer room???

Sunni, Shiite, Sufist, Kharijite, Ahmadiyya, Quranist, etc. Like The Offspring sang, "You gotta keep'em separated..."

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's not pandering, it's not discrimination. It's good old business. The Asahi article says that, with the number of Chinese travelers falling due to the Senkakus dispute, the airport is trying to attract visitors from south-east Asia where there are millions of Muslims who have to pray five times a day at specific times, wherever they may be.

And they're talking about ""prayer rooms", (祈祷室), for anyone, Muslim or otherwise, not a mosque.

So no need to panic; it's not the end of civilisation.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Follow the money: Indonesia's GDP growth in the recent years is a consistent 6%.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/07/24/indonesian-middle-class-most-optimistic-world-nielsen.html

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I've got no time for any religion, particularly when they attempt to impose their beliefs on others, but this isn't the case here. Shared prayer rooms and halal restaurants isn't an imposition of Sharia in Kansai Airport. Nobody's being forced to use them.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Funny how non-Muslim countries bend over backwards to please Muslims. Imagine a Muslim country doing the same for Christian travelers!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

What is next, Sharia law and full body cover for women there? The marketing "genious" to propose this should be sent to Syria for some trade exchange.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Its fine if its self-financing. Users of special facilities such as prayer rooms should have to pay a fee, it shouldn't come out of the general fees and charges that all passengers pay.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Funny how muslim affiliated folks on this site give dislikes, truth hurts isnt it

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wasn't aware there was any great need for this in Japan.

I think there is a demand, for tourist facilities adapted to religious people. But not these prayer rooms. They ask mostly halal (any diet) compatible eateries, and hotels with self-catering facilities and possibility for their group to . It's not only Muslim, but also, people of the many religions of India. Japanese tourist infrastructure and staff training are really indigent. Except the big international chains, they are not able to adapt at all. You can call 95% of the ryokans and say you have any special need and just one special request : "One person in our is disabled and needs a bed in a room accessible without stairs" or "We need food without beef in it" or "We need 2 private dining rooms for our group" and they are "Oh la la... muri... we don't know how to do that...".

Are Muslims a significant portion of flyers?

Of potential new tourists, definitely. South-Asian Muslims.

There are a few chapels in airports in Japan

Great. Let's kekkon-shiki there.

Imagine a Muslim country doing the same for Christian travelers!

Granted I only visited moderated places, those I went to all served non-hallal food and alcohols in airports and other places.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Saudi Arabia's Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport only has 1 mosque. How can a Japanese airport require a "number of prayer rooms"??

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The airport will increase the number of prayer rooms...

They are only increasing something that is already available at the moment. They have to do it, might as well make sure that the prayers are done in a safe and regulated enviromnent to make sure that everyone's satisfied.

They are not talking about a mosque.

I don't see what the big deal is. I'm an atheist, but if you've got to go to prayer, I get it, just go. I won't think any less of you. All the better if you have a safe and quiet place to do it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

lucabrasiAug. 27, 2013 - 11:00AM JST It's not pandering, it's not discrimination. It's good old business.

Japanese business have yet to master even the basics of what is regarded as common courtesy in most Western countries, yet here they are pandering to Muslims by building extra prayer rooms and making the restaurants halal?

... of course the joke is on the Muslims, because the Japanese will probably top their Halal pizza with a nice strips of bacon as garnish and then look all confused when there are complaints. Plus, knowing the Japanese, the prayer rooms will probably have a few crosses and pictures of Mary to "make the Muslims feel at home".

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Shared prayer rooms and halal restaurants isn't an imposition of Sharia in Kansai Airport.

Not necessarily. Airports aren't unlimited in size, and don't have unlimited restaurants. Every halal restaurant is a restaurant that's t NOT something else, that the majority of travelers through Kansai would likely prefer.

Besides, who's going to be running these halal restaurants? Japanese Muslims? Arab Muslims? African Muslims?

The more Muslims they import to staff the Muslim restaurants, the more Muslim restaurants they'll need to support the Muslim community.

That there's tons of Muslims in the UK isn't some random accident. Nor is Muslim immigration any kind of spontaneous, random occurrence. Believe it or not, they've got some serious long range plans for the world.

1 ( +6 / -4 )

If Muslim travelers expect Mosques in airports or demand women's faces be allowed to be covered anywhere in the airport, I would expect any airport in Japan to refuse firmly. That would be a totally unacceptable imposition. This clearly is not. If there is a demand for Halal restaurants or Kosher restaurants or restaurants catering to Hindus, open them. If people feel the need for prayer rooms to pray to Allah, Yahweh, Jesus or whatever, let them go there and not bother or inconvenience anyone else. If like me, you don't feel the need to pray or eat Halal food, don't go. The moment people ask us to change our behaviour or rules in airports, or anywhere else, to avoid offence, accommodate religious beliefs or try to proselytize is the time to firmly tell people where to shove it, as I do when the religious stop me on the street or knock on my door. That's an unacceptable imposition.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The Moors in Spain, the Moguls in India and other ancient muslim kingdoms who gave us the Alhambra, the Taj Mahal and even 'zero', probably shared the same 'not an inch' attitude seen in this thread, before the grains of influence slipped through their fingers.

Indonesia is a major strategic growth partner for Japan, with a burgeoning middle class that loves to travel in groups. Being largely muslim, many happen to pray several times a day, including business people, partners and managers of Japanese companies.

We can accept that change happens and seek to benefit from it, or bring our anger with us to our grave. Is a prayer room in an airport such a threat?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

What crap. Either provide facilities for all religions or none at all. Sick of hearing about Muslims.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@umbrella

What part of 'prayer room' (kitoushitsu) don't you understand? The rooms are for everyone....

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Every halal restaurant is a restaurant that's NOT something else,

Not at all. 2/3 of food in Japan is halal actually, it's not a style of cuisine, it's a restriction, similar to a diet you might have for your health. Like you'd be allergic to dairies, you wouldn't need special eateries, you could go to sushi, yakitori, but not to the haagen-dazs... The problem of the foreign tourist is knowing what is what and communicating the request.

because the Japanese will probably top their Halal pizza with a nice strips of bacon

If they are that stupid, they deserve to get out of business. But that's true that Japan really lags behind. They boast about being a Buddhist country with the temples, the art, the zen, even of having invented Buddhist gastronomy. But a few years ago, when they hosted an international Buddhist gathering in Kansai, the organizers have not found catering services to provide meals compatible to the diets of participants, in the whole Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Great. Now how about serving some vegetarian food too, or would that be asking too much? So much for Buddhism in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

CosAug. 27, 2013 - 11:10PM JST Not at all. 2/3 of food in Japan is halal actually, it's not a style of cuisine, it's a restriction, similar to a diet you might have for your health.

I think that perhaps you don't fully understand what is involved in making a dish "halal". Firstly the meat must be slaughtered in a certain way, certain prayers said and all of the blood drained. Then the kitchen in which it is prepared must maintain a separate space for meat and a separate space for dairy, and yet another space for "unclean" foods like shellfish, pork, etc. Implements used in one area cannot be used in another, even if they're washed. Finally the meal must be presented on plates that haven't been used for "unclean" foods, even if they're washed afterwards.

... and these are just the basic requirements. Depending on the school of Islam alcohol and "unclean" foods (like bacon burgers) may not even be allowed in the same restaurant, never mind the same kitchen, and women on their period would have to eat in an entirely separate area off different plates and using different cutlery.

Finally, it isn't just a question putting up a sign that says, "Halal" or marking certain dishes on your menu as "halal". Your premises and serving procedure need to be regularly inspected by an Islamic authority and a certificate issued (for a hefty fee).

This isn't a cheap decision, it isn't an easy decision and it certainly isn't a good business decision in Japan where the kitchens barely have space for a single chef, never mind at least three separate areas with three full sets of cooking implements, three stoves (because residue from someone's grilled prawns might remain in the oven), etc.

because the Japanese will probably top their Halal pizza with a nice strips of bacon If they are that stupid, they deserve to get out of business. But that's true that Japan really lags behind. They boast about being a Buddhist country with the temples, the art, the zen, even of having invented Buddhist gastronomy. But a few years ago, when they hosted an international Buddhist gathering in Kansai, the organizers have not found catering services to provide meals compatible to the diets of participants, in the whole Japan.

For some reason my post got cut in half, which makes my comment appear a bit random. I have a lot of vegetarian friends (some for social, some for political and some for religious reasons). When we go out to dinner we try to pick somewhere with vegetarian options, like pizza places... almost every single time they mess up the order, despite us saying, "No meat. This also includes fish, prawns, chicken, and pork". ... and then the pizza arrives with a few pieces of salami on it and they offer very nicely to remove the salami and serve my friends the same pizza again, don't understand why this presents a problem.

One of my friends finally got a card printed up saying that he was allergic to meat (and listing everything he considers "meat", which includes eggs) and that he would DIE if he ate these things, and showed it to the waiter... and his rice arrived with an egg broken across the top.

I think the problem is that the kitchen staff just follow the same procedure without any regard for the customer's requests, and that if the kitchen is set up for ONLY halal food then there might be a hope, but if some dishes are halal and others aren't then there are going to be mess-ups of epic proportions.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think that perhaps you don't fully understand what is involved in making a dish "halal".

You are making a huge confusion between halal (Muslim) and kosher (Jewish). Then surely some persons, religious or on a strict diet, will never trust strangers and they want to prepare their meals themselves, even raise their own cattle. For others, vegetarian dishes and all seafood are generally considered halal. For meats, except for pork, that's up to individual appreciation. All my Muslim friends in Japan eat the regular beef and chicken served in restaurants, and even at home as they shop at Daiei, they only order halal mutton on occasions. Roughly, when they go to a sushi place, most tourists want to be told when a soup or a salad side-dish contains pork, so they won't order it.

it isn't just a question putting up a sign that says, "Halal"

It's not necessary. People decide by themselves if they know the content.

or marking certain dishes on your menu as "halal".

You can reheat sealed prepared halal dishes. Idem for kosher. That's how collectivities like armies, schools, jails, hospitals, etc, deal with their dietetic minorities. And my understanding is it is what they plan to do in the airport eateries, and that would be easy as the airport has a food factory that already prepares the halal meals for planes.

. I have a lot of vegetarian friends. When we go out to dinner we try to pick somewhere with vegetarian options, like pizza places... almost every single time they mess up the order,

They made a mistake once in my experience, and they changed the dish when we told them. Over thousands of times. The possible problem, and it appears when you order, is that in some places, sauces, whole dishes, or even the whole set menu are pre-made and they can't make them meat-free, dairy-free, salt-free, whatever.

the pizza arrives with a few pieces of salami on it

Let me guess, you ordered a "pepperoni pizza" ? Menus list exactly what items are on a pizza, They don't add you stuff to make you a surprise.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I love this idea! Segregation is good.

I also propose segregated flights: separate the Muslims from the rest of us. It's win-win. The Muslims are spared being offended by our mere presence, and we wouldn't have all that annoying security to go through.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What part of 'prayer room' (kitoushitsu) don't you understand? The rooms are for everyone....

Maybe it's this part:

The airport will increase the number of prayer rooms, restaurants that serve halal meals and other services to accommodate Muslims.

Sounds like those "prayer rooms for everyone", are for Muslims.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sounds like those "prayer rooms for everyone", are for Muslims.

Sounds like it to me too. What is it with Japan. Are they trying to make the muslim community happy so Al Quida doesn't come knocking on thier doorstep and blowing crap up?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is what they say on the airport site, including a picture to show what it looks like:

Prayer Room [North area of 4F]

Open to members of all religions.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

you know sometimes doing a good thing doesn't always get a good response.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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