1. ITV Report

Five-year-old girl 'banned from eating chicken sandwich' because it wasn't halal

A mother has accused a nursery of starving her five-year-old young daughter after staff refused to let her eat her packed lunch because it wasn't halal.

Yasmin Jackson and Amari Credit: SWNS

24-year-old Yasmin Jackson sent Amari to her first day at the new nursery with a chicken salad sandwich for her lunch.

But when she picked her up from Kingswood Day Care Nursery, in Mitcham, south west London at the end of the day, the youngster complained about being hungry.

When I asked Amari if she'd had a good day at school, the first thing she said was 'is it time for me to have my packed lunch yet, mummy? I'm so hungry.'

I thought it was a bit strange, but maybe the staff had forgotten I'd told them she had a lunch. But the manager told me that it was against school policy for kids to bring in their own food.

I asked if it was because the food might be unhealthy, and then told her that the food I had made for my daughter was healthy. She told me it was because they didn't know if the chicken was Halal, and didn't want it poisoning other children.

– Yasmin Jackson
The letter from Merton Council asking Yasmin to make a to packed lunch for her daughter Credit: SWNS

I couldn't believe it. We're a Christian Spiritualist family, and very tolerant of other people's beliefs.

But to be told my daughter was made to go hungry because her food wasn't Halal is just not on.

It should be up to me what I choose to feed my child, not somebody else's religion.

They starved her for the day, and I'm never sending her back there.

– Yasmin Jackson

Yasmin said she was only following guidelines set out by Merton Council, who ask parents to provide healthy foods for their children to eat, free from any allergens.

Amari Jackson Credit: SWNS

It was perfectly healthy. I must have the only five-year-old in the country who loves salad and hummus.

So what if the sandwich wasn't Halal? It's not like I'd made her a huge platter to share around.

I know that she's not going to die if she doesn't have her lunch, but it's not right to make her go hungry. If they'd let her eat her lunch and at the end of the day told me about the Halal policy, I would have thought it was ridiculous, but I would have followed their wishes.

But to deny a five-year-old girl her favourite sandwich on religious grounds is just unacceptable.

– Yasmin Jackson

The nursery has received a number of threats from angry members of far right groups.

I deny the untrue and false allegations that have been made against myself and Kingswood Day Care Nursery.

As a result I have informed Ofsted and the police who are currently dealing with this matter.

We work closely with parents to provide a high standard you would expect for your child.

We treat each child as an individual and provide them with equal opportunities and meet all ethical standards.

– Afsheen Siddik, nursery manager

Afsheen did not comment on the nursery's packed lunch policy.

I can confirm that officers in Merton have received a complaint of racially and religiously aggravated communications sent to the said location which are also a matter of investigation.

At this time officers in Merton are liaising with local partners and Ofsted.

– Metropolitan Police