Tuscan Pecorino Becomes Certified Halal for Islam

The Tuscan DOP cheese called “Pecorino Toscano” (DOP is an EU label that indicates the importance of the location in manufacture of a food product) made with local milk and worked in Manciano is known certified halal. The certification was authorized by the Islamic Zayd Ibn Thabit.

The changes in the production of Pecorino Toscano DOP Halal do not affect the product but rather are changes in the work process, approach and knowledge of the procedures to align with Islam. These aspects include the use of non-alcoholic products for the equipment cleaning as well as making clear the ingredients on the product label. This certification illustrates a major change in the domestic market, in which there are more and more Muslims; and many Muslims are looking for products that keep with their religion.

The Muslims of the Nous Catalans Foundation/CDC asked to build a large mosque in Barcelona

The Union of Islamic Cultural Centers of Catalonia (UCCIC)-currently coordinates
some 70 mosques and oratories of Catalonia, and the NousCatalans Foundation/CDC have agreed, “to facilitate the granting of licenses to build a large mosque in Barcelona
to fight and isolate the fundamentalist movement that spread in small
oratories.” The agreements also provides for” improving the current situation of some
oratories to avoid situations of conflict. “Both entities have agreed to “the organization and representation of Muslims in Catalonia through democratic elections to enable the Muslim community to have valid and representative interlocutors, to promote the training of imams in Catalonia, a training that responds to the values of Cataluña, promoting dialogue and coexistence as tools for participation in Catalan society and building a
common future in Catalonia and to enable burial spaces according to Muslim ritual.”
They also agreed to “promote dialogue, visits and meetings with Catalan institutions, the
Halal certification procedure, the quality assurance process applied to food,
products and services according to Halal Standards and other pre-documents and work
for the creation in the near future of the Catalan Council of Muslim Faith grouped
by a democratically elected board and voted and representative of all
Muslims in Catalonia ”

Parti Quebecois slams halal meat production

News Agencies – March 14, 2012

The Parti Québécois is sounding the alarm bell over an Islamic food ritual, calling slaughter for halal meat an affront not only to the rights of animals but to the values cherished by Quebecers. The pro-independence party recently declared its concerns about halal animal-rights standards, and is worried that mainstream companies are selling the meat, without any labelling, to unsuspecting Québécois customers.

Not to be outdone, the fledgling Coalition For Quebec’s Future (CAQ) concurred later that consumers should have the right to choose which product they buy and halal products must be labelled. The halal flap is the latest iteration of Quebec’s identity debates, which have raged on Montreal’s populist talk radio in recent days.

The PQ is now demanding a report on the halal situation from the provincial government, by March 23. The opposition party wants to know how many companies are involved in producing halal meat, and how many animals are being slaughtered per year under Islamic rituals. It says it’s concerned about animal rights, in addition to potential food contamination.

The company at the centre of the political storm expressed bewilderment over all the fuss. Olymel, a meat-processing giant with plants in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, said it obtained a halal certification for one of its poultry plants two years ago after some clients requested it.

The clients wanted to label Olymel-produced meat with the certification when they sold it.

But Olymel spokesman Richard Vigneault said his company’s products are processed under all required food safety and quality control standards mandated by the federal government. “In no way we’re practicing traditional halal slaughtering — no way,” he said in a telephone interview. “In matter of fact, this [halal] certification has changed nothing about our slaughtering.”

Toronto supermarket promotes halal products

Toronto Star – May 4, 2011

The sign at the halal meat counter at Sunny Foodmart says “We can speak your language!” It lists 10 (Urdu, Punjabi, Turkish, Russian, Bengali, English, Pashto, German, Arabic and Parsi) that staff can speak, though there are certainly more, like French. Sunny Foodmart is owned by three Chinese Canadians who have stocked food from a multitude of cultures and reached out to Muslim customers with a certified halal meat counter.

Provincial and federal food agencies don’t do religious certification for the halal market, so self-regulating certification agencies have sprung up. Sunny pays $150 a month to the Halal Monitoring Authority (HMA), which inspects and certifies slaughterhouses, meat processors and distributors, butchers, restaurants and fast-food outlets.

Activists Simmer Over Alleged Terror Ties to Campbell’s Soup

From the people who helped bring you the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy come new allegations of Muslim “infiltration” linked to an organization hired to certify Campbell’s soup.

Conservative blogger Pamela Geller, who helped build opposition to a proposed Islamic center near the site of the 9/11 attacks, has begun a grassroots protest against the Campbell Soup Company over the group that it uses to label Halal certain varieties of soup for sale in Canada

Geller says she doesn’t oppose the company’s decision to label soups that conform to Islamic dietary rules, but says the company has employed a Muslim organization with terrorist ties to oversee the certification.

“I have no problem with labeling things Halal,” Geller, who founded “Stop Islamization of America”, told ABCNews.com. “The problem is that they went to [the Islamic Society of North America] for their designation, a named a co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial.”

ISNA was named an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a 2007 federal terror trial brought against the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim charity located in Texas, which was convicted of funneling more than $12 million to Palestinian terror group Hamas.

In a statement, ISNA acknowledged being named a co-conspirator in the 2007 trial, but added, “the government admitted that its labeling of ISNA many years ago was nothing more than a legal tactic. Indeed, ISNA now has a very positive working relationship with the federal government.”

Confusion arises on halal pork products in France

News Agencies – February 13, 2011
Last month, the website Débat Halal claimed it had evidence that a popular brand of halal-certified poultry sausages marketed in France by a giant international food producer actually contain pork, rendering them haram to Muslims. The accusation led many French Muslims to question how they can be sure that any of the halal food they buy meets certification standards — only to discover that no single set of standards exists for determining which products are halal and which aren’t. Now, some observers are hoping that the haram hubbub may finally push France’s Muslim leaders to agree upon a united code for the halal food sector — one of the biggest-booming niche markets in the nation.
The flap over Herta’s poultry sausages is only the latest controversy involving halal-certified food in France. In recent months, revelations of mechanized slaughtering by some industrial poultry Producers — rather than the manual culling and bleeding halal requires — have led some experts to estimate that up to 90% of poultry products labeled as halal in France don’t meet even the most basic, generally recognized standards. While trying to find out exactly what the national norms are for halal certification, French Muslims have found there is no unified set of criteria or inspection procedures to verify a product as being halal. Reaching a consensus on halal standards will be difficult among France’s diverse, disparate Muslim population. Lacking an international structure like the Catholic Church to replicate at the national level, French Muslims remained largely unorganized until 2003, when government authorities helped found the French Council of the Muslim Faith as the representative of France’s “official Islam.” However, the organization has continually been undercut by rival factions and clashing loyalties that have made uniting French Muslims under a single structure challenging.

French store, Casino, pulls halal sausages from shelves

News Agencies – February 11, 2011

The French food store Casino has announced it will pull Herta sausages (of the Nestle brand) off its shelves as the product is suspected not to be halal. The supermarket chain announced it would conduct independent testing to guarantee that pork products were not within the halal-certified food. The Mosque of Paris is in charge of the certification of halal products by Nestle.

ISNA-Canada accused of money mismanagement

Devout Muslims donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to one of Canada’s largest Islamic organizations on the promise that the cash would be used to help the poor. But only one in four dollars donated to a special pool of money at the Islamic Society of North America Canada (ISNA Canada) actually reached the needy. ISNA Canada draws in close to $1 million in charity donations a year. The audit looked closely at one portion of those donations, an obligatory alms giving called Zakat and Fitrah meant to aid the needy. The audit found that of about $810,777 collected over four years, only $196,460 went to aid the poor.

ISNA Canada is embroiled in controversy, with the audit revealing the practice of giving free perks to family members of a top official; the improper issuing of charitable tax receipts; and the diversion of charity money to private businesses. At the centre of it all is long-time secretary general Mohammad Ashraf, who has recently announced he is stepping down.

The ISNA Canada headquarters houses the city of Mississauga’s most visible mosque and provides a variety of services, including a Muslim high school and a halal meat certification agency.

CAIR: Judge Blocks Oklahoma Anti-Islam Amendment

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today announced that a federal judge in Oklahoma has temporarily blocked an anti-Islam state ballot measure (SQ 755) that would have amended that state’s constitution to forbid judges from considering Islamic principles (Shariah) or international law when making a ruling. U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange of the United States District Court — Western District of Oklahoma today granted a temporary restraining order blocking certification of the recently-passed ballot measure by the Oklahoma State Board of Elections.

CAIR says the ballot measure would infringe on the constitutional rights of ordinary Oklahomans — including the right to wear religious head scarves in driver’s license photographs, choose Islamic marriage contracts, implement Islamic wills, or to be buried according to one’s religious beliefs.

Judge Miles-LaGrange also scheduled a hearing on November 22 for arguments as to whether she should grant a preliminary injunction that would extend the restraining order until a final determination is made in the case.

Dutch government investigates halal fraud

The Dutch government is investigating possible fraud with halal certificates in the country, Volkskrant reports. The General Inspection Service, a division of the Agricultural Ministry, last month revealed that a meat wholesaler from Breda had used forged documents to sell several thousand tons of meat to Muslims in France.

Ben Ali-Salah, director of Halal Correct, an organization granting halal certificates in Leiden, says that documents of his certifying bureau are forged en-masse for meat cargoes which don’t deserve the title of halal.

Although the term halal seems to have been naturalized in the Netherlands, it is not legally protected. Controversy surrounding the certification and authenticity of halal meats continues as demand for halal products has produced a boom in certifying agencies.