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Should MasterChef have asked Samira to cook pork?

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Many Australians would have watched Muslim MasterChef contestant Samira get kicked off the show on Wednesday night for cooking the worst pork hot dog. 

To be fair, putting it that way distorts the decision - it was her brioche bun that undid her. But in my mind there were bigger questions raised last night than whether or not her brioche was a disaster. Should MasterChef have asked a Muslim contestant to cook pork?

In my view, the answer is no. Pork, ham and bacon are well known to be haram, or prohibited under Islamic custom. How one of Australia's most popular television shows makes a call between toleration and accommodation of the customs of religious minorities is something that demands interrogation.

To allow Samira on the show, complete with hijab, is an act of toleration that we wouldn't have seen only a few years ago. It makes no qualitative difference to the show, or to our lives, so we allow it. Great. However, it was made clear last night that we have not come much further than that in the way we interact with minorities.

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