McDonald’s settles case alleging sandwich sold at Mich. store wasn’t halal as advertised

DEARBORN, Mich. — McDonald’s and one of its franchise owners agreed to pay $700,000 to members of the Muslim community to settle allegations a Detroit-area restaurant falsely advertised its food as being prepared according to Islamic dietary law.McDonald’s and Finley’s Management Co. agreed Friday to the tentative settlement, with that money to be shared by Dearborn Heights resident Ahmed Ahmed, a Detroit health clinic, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and lawyers.Ahmed’s attorney, Kassem Dakhlallah, told The Associated Press on Monday that he’s “thrilled” with the preliminary deal that’s expected to be finalized March 1. McDonald’s and Finley’s Management deny any liability but say the settlement is in their best interests.The lawsuit alleged that Ahmed bought a chicken sandwich in September 2011 at a Dearborn McDonald’s but found it wasn’t halal — meaning it didn’t meet Islamic requirements for preparing
food. Islam forbids consumption of pork, and God’s name must be invoked before an animal providing meat for consumption is slaughtered.Dakhlallah said he was approached by Ahmed, and they conducted an investigation. A letter sent to McDonald’s Corp. and Finley’s Management by Dakhlallah’s firm said Ahmed had “confirmed from a source familiar with the inventory” that the restaurant had sold non-halal food “on many occasions.”After they received no response to the letter, Dakhlallah said, they filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court in November 2011 as part of a class action.

US Arab-Muslim comedy community grows, pushes beyond funny talk in post-9/11 world

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Arab-Muslim stand-up comedy is flourishing more than a decade after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. While comics like Obeidallah, Ahmed Ahmed and Amer Zahr differ on approach — and there are disagreements among some— they’re all trying to do more than just lampoon themselves or their people for easy laughs.

The comedian who made his name on the “Axis of Evil Comedy Tour” made one thing clear when he opened a recent set at Michigan State University: “Tonight, it’s not Islam 101.”

For every joke Dean Obeidallah made about his Arabic heritage or Muslim faith, there were others about student loans, Asian-American basketball phenom Jeremy Lin, the presidential race and full-body scans at airports.

Somalis fill vacant jobs at Iowa meatpacking plant

Almost three months after a federal immigration raid on a Postville, Iowa meatpacking plant resulted in the uprooting of nearly 400 employees, dozens of Somali immigrants are slowly but steadily filling the vacant ranks left by arrested workers. The Somali immigrants, many of whom are Muslim, discussed with the Associated Press some elements of their faith and culture concerning their new job. The meatpacking plant is kosher, and is run by several Rabbi’s. However, many including Ahmed Ahmed, a Somali who works in the plant’s sausage department, did not find his employment to be a contradiction, citing work is work. Many of the workers have transplanted not only themselves, but their family, including women and children. The Somali immigrants – numbering at an estimated 100-150, are also beginning for form their own community within the small town with a population of just 2,200.