For the first time, halal food is being advertised on France’s most-watched private television channels, attesting to the growing purchase power of Muslim shoppers in the country. “Even though people have to fast during the day, Muslims tend to eat more — and better — when they can eat during Ramadan, which is why it is traditionally a period of peak consumer activity,” said Abbas Bendali, director of Solis Conseil, an ethnic marketing consultancy in Paris.
The Panzani-owned, Lyon-based food brand Zakia Halal is running a $430,000 mass-market promotion of halal food. It features a young Muslim couple shopping at a supermarket to promote halal microwaveable meals including lasagna, ravioli, paella, beef, bourguignon and shepherd’s pie.
Bendali added that “It appears the rest of France is starting to regard things like halal food as part of the new mix.”
Milan police arrested two Moroccan-born men on charges of plotting attacks against Italian targets. These targets included a supermarket, police barracks, and Milan’s Piazza del Duomo. The two men were said to have no ties to international terrorist groups, but did admire the work of such groups as Al Qaeda. Wiretaps of the two men uncovered the intent to use “bombs” made of gunpowder from firecrackers. Planning for the attacks is said to have been in the preliminary stages.
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Rotterdam entrepreneur Kees van Vuuren is starting a chain of immigrant supermarkets, and hopes to eventually open 150-200 shops, especially in those areas that have witnessed the disappearance of small grocery shops in the past decade. Van Vuuren hopes that the shops, under the name Waikiki, will improve the atmosphere in unsafe neighborhoods and encourage integration, by being employed by many young immigrants seeking franchises, and encouraging entrepreneurship in localized neighborhoods. Waikiki shops will offer products of Lebanese, Polish, Russian, Surinamese, Czech, Turkish, and Dutch origins, and also offer halal or Islamically permissible goods.
Muslim supermarket checkout staff who refuse to sell alcohol are being allowed to opt out of handling customers’ bottles and cans of drink. Islamic workers at Sainsbury’s who object to alcohol on religious grounds are told to raise their hands when encountering any drink at their till so that a colleague can temporarily take their place or scan items for them. Other staff have refused to work stacking shelves with wine, beer and spirits and have been found alternative roles in the company. Daniel Foggo and Christopher Thompson report.
GENEVA – A majority of Swiss people would support a Muslim woman’s right to wear a headscarf at her workplace, according to an opinion poll on the integration of Islam in Switzerland published on Sunday. Fifty-three percent of those polled said they felt a recent move by a supermarket chain to expressly allow women in public sales jobs to wear headscarves was right, against 36 percent who opposed the idea, the newspaper Sonntagsblick said.