Buddhist in row over Durham restaurant name

by Phil Doherty, Sunday Sun, July 22, 2007

Durham City, UK -- COUNCIL bosses are demanding a Buddhist businessman changes the name of his Chinese restaurant from the Fat Buddha in case in upsets Buddhists.

Boss Eddie Fung’s new £1.3m restaurant in Durham City will create 60 new jobs when it opens next month.

But he could be forced to change the name after the city council’s head of cultural services, Tracey Ingle, said the phrase was “provocative”.

Eddie, 39, is quoted as saying: “I cannot believe that this woman should go to so much time and trouble to take issue over an inoffensive name like Fat Buddha. No Buddhist is going to be offended by this. It is political correctness gone mad.”

Eddie says he received no complaints about the name at his first restaurant which opened in Belfast earlier this year.

According to reports in a London-based newspaper, Miss Ingle said in a letter to Eddie: “To use the name of a major religion’s deity in your restaurant brands runs contrary to this city’s reputation as a place of equality and respect for other’s views and beliefs.”

A Durham City Council spokesman defended Miss Ingle’s stance, but a spokesman for the Buddhist Society said: “To suggest this is offensive is to misunderstand the faith.”