Halal or not Halal?

You published an article, Nation’s only Halal Subway Shop Big Success, by Suleman Din in volume 8 issue 20. It mentioned a success story about a Halal Subway restaurant in Iselin, NJ where both halal and haram food products are sold under one roof.

On the other hand, Kevin Kane, a spokesman for Subway, mentioned First Kosher Subway in Ohio. The difference between the stores is that at Kosher Subway no pork is served.

It is difficult to prevent cross contamination at Subway and mistakes can happen; HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) has to be applied in order to prevent cross-contamination. It is better to eat at Muslim-owned halal restaurants where no pork is served.

Muslim businessmen or women, when trying to obtain a mainstream franchise, always forget the Islamic Shari’ah rules, according to the ‘ulama at Sharia Board Chicago, IL (773-764-8501 www.shariaboard.com) Islam prohibits a Muslim from being involved in a haram business like selling wine and pork. The majority of Muslim businessmen do not consult ‘ulama about whether their businesses are halal before they start the business.

Also, unfortunately, some brothers promote non-halal restaurants without complete investigation of the halal status of food products and without proper professional knowledge of the food industry, of food service, and of how food is prepared at mainstream restaurants.

Brother Irfan promotes Outback Steakhouse on his website www.zabihah.com. By coincidence the Tampa-based Outback restaurants buy lamb steaks from New Zealand which are halal-certified. But Outback happens to serve many pork products as well, so they do not claim to be a halal restaurant. Their lamb supplier in New Zealand happens to be a halal lamb supplier, halal-certified by the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand.

The problem with the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIAZ) is they halal certify the return lamb meat too and it is mentioned in their rules, but nobody knows whether that return lamb meat is real zabiha or not. It was reported on the internet that Malaysia has stopped buying meat from New Zealand because of problems with halal-processing practices.

Another problem is that the Outback headquarters failed to provide information on the halal status of lubricant coatings used on their pans to bake lamb, the halal status of their spice blend and marinades, and other foods used with their steaks.

Our organization, the Muslim Consumer Group, does research about the halal status of the raw food products at fast food restaurants, but we will not take any responsibility for cross-contamination of halal foods with haram foods. It is the choice of the Muslim consumer whether to eat at fast-food restaurants.

We have in the past brought it to the attention of Muslims that at Burger King, fish, chicken nuggets and pork patties are fried in the same oil.

At Red Lobster, some fish, coated with a substance that contains real beer, is fried in the same oil with other fish, and that makes the fried fish haram to eat.

Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed
Founder & President
Muslim Consumer Group for Food Products

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