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Illinois Consumer Protection: Providing Proof for Halal Meats

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As a Muslim, I've chosen to abide by the 'halal' food rules. 'Halal' in Arabic literally means permissible and in the context food, usually refers to meat. It's the equivalent of kosher for Jews. Our livestock must be treated and slaughtered in a certain way, namely that it must slaughtered by the jugular vein and can not be beaten or abused to death. This means that animals that die as a result of stun gunning, as commonly practiced in mainstream slaughterhouses, is not permissible to eat.

So what does this have to do with Illinois consumer protection? Well, 815 ILCS 505/2LL of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act requires that vendors display proof that their meat is halal. This raises the question, who on earth lies about whether the meat they sell is halal? Answer: Muslims.

Like any group, Muslims are not a monolith (this may come as a shock to some of you). Islamic law has varying opinions (another shocker). When it comes to meat, the most common opinion is that the meat must be slaughtered in a certain way and so on. The Qur'an does provide that meat slaughtered by 'the People of the Book' (ie, Jews and Christians) may also be consumed by Muslims. However, this opinion is taken out of context as some Muslims forget this allowance is in context of the way the Jews and Christians used to slaughter their own livestock and such practices are not largely practiced anymore. For this reason, many Muslim vendors will buy mainstream meat and pass it off as halal.

Not cool

So bravo Illinois (and other states) for having this law. I know next time I buy my meat, I know I have the law behind me.

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